5 simple practices that don’t cost and look really pretty
• Let some vegetables go to flower in the garden, then harvest the seed. •
Leave the orchard lawn to flower over summer when it doesn’t grow much anyway, and you’ll have an interesting understorey of clover, dandelion and daisies. •
Sowing wildflowers or hardy herbs like borage, or planting cuttings of rosemary amongst fenced-off young trees looks good, they’re great companion plants, and will be much appreciated by insects. •
Habitat is important. Building cute little bumblebee motels seems to catch peoples’ fancy but professional advice is that food sources are more important and natural habitats are preferred. Bumblebees often nest in old mouse holes or amongst dry grass, and native bees will dig into stable soil alongside driveways, in bare patches of lawn, sand dunes etc. Hylaeinae native bees set up homes in compost and old plant material. •
The other major is not to go around killing them all. One of the quickest ways to do so is with sprays, soapy water being the worst. Bees breathe though pores and soapy water suffocates them. Just because a spray is organic does not mean bees and beneficial insects are immune to it – pyrethrum is lethal. A pesticide – organic or not – is still a pesticide and kills pests, both the ‘goodies’ and the ‘baddies’. •
Don’t spray plants unless you really, really have to, and never when they are in flower. Even then, spray late evening after the bees (even the late-flying bumbles) have gone to bed.
Bee honey coming in to borage.