Did you know that a third of our wild bees are threatened? Without them there would be no fruits or berries. Here are some simple tips you can do this yourself to save the bees, together with your children.
Create a bee hotel
Build a DIY bee hotel for solitary bees and place in the garden together with your children, why don’t you even give it a name? Solitary bees are important pollinators and a gardener’s friend, they are maintenance-free and do not require the same responsibilities as honeybees do.
To make the hotel yourself, you can drill several holes in, for example, a thick piece of wood and hang up in a sunny position that is sheltered from rain.
Another kid friendly way to make a bee hotel is to:
Step 1. Get a container, plant pot, or anything that you can use as a holder to for hollow stems
Step 2. Create the stems. You can use bamboo canes, or create your own by rolling card or paper, or even gather lots of twigs that can create hallow spaces in the container
Step 3. Position your stems in your container and place in a sunny but dry place, ideally one that is protected from winds and at least one meter up from the ground.
Create a bee waterer
Water is very important for bees and it is super easy to make a bee watering station that will allow them to hydrate without the risk of drowning.
What you will need is:
- Shallow dish or container – examples would be a pot base, an old platter, even the foil casing from a store-bought pie.
- Pebbles, marbles, or glass beads.
Step 1: Fill your container with water so that the tops of your pebbles or marbles are only just showing. These pebbles will create a safe landing spot for the bees when they come to drink.
Step 2: Place the container in a cool, shady spot or near your flower beds with the most bee activity.
Plant bee friendly plants
Grow plants that are particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Mix summer and autumn flowers so that there is food for the pollinators throughout the season. Have your children join in and put seeds in pots and then water and care for the plants as they bloom.
Plants that are bee friendly include: Ox-Eye Daisy, Rosemary, Lavender, Honeysuckle, Wallflower, Hawthorn, Daffodils, Thyme, Bluebells, Mahonia
Slow down on mowing the lawn
Most people want to mow the lawn when the grass gets high, but for the sake of the pollinators you could turn a piece of the lawn into a blooming meadow island. Let the children participate and decide on the place. Maybe you can make a sign together that marks the place for the bees?
Avoid using pesticides
Common insecticides containing neonicotinoids (thiacloprid and acetamiprid) kill bees! They are still approved for home and garden use and are available today at most garden centres and DIY shops. Read the label and please avoid using them.