Albert Einstein is rumoured to have once said:
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Whether or not he actually did say it, we don’t know. The jury’s still out.
Now I can’t be absolutely certain that it would only take four years as I’m neither a bee, nor or bee-keeper, nor a person who’s studied bees. I have, however, always known that we’re dependent on them to pollinate our crops. That’s our fruit, veg, corn etc. Yes, science is making lots of progress when it comes to self-pollinating crops, but is that really the answer? Wouldn’t we miss the gentle buzz of bees during summer? What was that you said? You hate them because they sting? Noooo! Just leave them to get on with their business without swatting at them and you'll be fine.
Anyway, back to the point in hand.
Apparently we could be facing a bit of a bee disaster this year. According to
When the article was written there was fear that these Queens would be killed off should temperatures drop during March, which they have done. I don’t know about where you live but here in South Cheshire we’ve had some very nippy nights. LM (that’s DD2) had to keep scraping ice from her car windscreen in the mornings!
Considering there’s already been a decline in the numbers of bees in this country over recent years – thanks to destruction of their natural habitats and chemical pesticides etc - this isn’t good news at all.
This is something I think we all need to take action on.
- Instead of planting flowering plants that have little or no nectar at all, find nectar rich - preferably native – plants for the bees to feed on instead.
- Let the clover grow in your lawn. It’s an excellent source of food for bees whereas lawn grass offers nothing at all. The scent of clover also entices them into the garden, as does cat mint (nip).
- Make sure there are safe and warm places for them to spend the winter. Special bee houses can be bought but I’ve seen some simple home-made versions that have worked just as well. A pile of old dried logs can be useful too, but remember they like to nest up relatively high.
- Unless you have a pond or bird bath, put out a tray of water so that the bees can quench their thirst.
- And for goodness sake stop using chemical pesticides in your garden. A ‘perfect’ garden without insect life just isn’t worth the environmental risks that go along with it.
Plants that are good for bees include:
- Old fashioned roses
- Any flowering berries and fruits
Before you go dashing off to the garden centre, one thing to bear in mind is to avoid double flowering varieties. They may look pretty but they’re far less useful to the bees. In fact, some aren’t of any use at all because the nice, plump bees just can’t get far enough in.
I’m definitely going back to a wildlife friendly garden. One day, my mud pit will be transformed, until then I shall put out plenty of pots and plant a new honeysuckle. Oh, and I do plan to throw a packet of grass seed around, mixed in with some wild meadow flower seed. It's gotta be better than it is now :)