The death of bees is on everyone’s lips. You can find out how a layperson can help bees in our article.
Bees (Anthophila) are irreplaceable in our gardens: Almost 80% of all wild and useful plants are dependent on pollination by insects, almost two thirds of the pollination is due to wild and honey bees. In this way, bees not only ensure that plants can reproduce, but also make a significant contribution to maintaining biodiversity. Vegetable beds and fruit trees also benefit from the small pollinator insects, because pollinated flowers develop into larger and higher quality fruits. It is all the more frightening that the number of bees has been falling continuously for years: a scarce habitat, monocultures and pesticides make life difficult for the hard-working helpers. Fortunately, more and more people want to help the bees by setting up bee waterers, providing food sources or supporting weak bees.
Bees help: set up bee waterers
Especially in hot summers, not only do we humans long for a sip of water – many bees are thirsty too, because in oppressive heat, the flower nectar and morning dew are no longer sufficient to supply water. Unfortunately, other natural water sources such as bank areas by the pond and small puddles in many gardens have become rare – so bees often do not find enough places to drink, especially in urban areas. This can be remedied by a bee drinking trough: A shallow bowl is filled with water. Since bees cannot swim, it is particularly important to ensure that the access is gently sloping, where the animals can easily land. In addition, the bee trough is equipped with other possible landing areas. In addition to stones and pieces of wood, moss or cork are also suitable for this. The bee trough can be set up in a warm, sunny place with as little wind as possible and takes up little space, so that it is also suitable for helping bees on the balcony. However, the water should be checked regularly for dead animals and replaced so that no toxins or pathogens are transmitted.
Many gardeners want to help the bees and set up small bowls of honey as an additional source of food. What is intended as a benevolent gesture can quickly turn into a danger for bees: Pathogens are often transmitted through the honey that can weaken an entire colony. In around a quarter of all imported honeys from the supermarket, the pathogen causing the American foulbrood could be detected, which can kill an entire colony. You should therefore avoid feeding bees with honey as much as possible. And when disposing of honey jars, you should always ensure that the lid is closed.
Feeding bees with sugar water is also not recommended by most experts. Some beekeepers also use this method to replace the honey they have removed – so sugar water is not harmful to bees – but laypeople are not advised to use this method here either. On the one hand, feeding with sugar water carries the risk of diseases being transmitted or the animals even drowning in the sugary solution. On the other hand, planting bee-friendly flowers is a much better alternative if you want to help bees, as not only the sugary nectar but also the protein-rich pollen can be found here.
Do you still have some space in your garden and can you set up a beehive in a quiet corner? This makes the bees very happy and even helps your plants!
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Tip to help weak bees: Especially in summer it can happen that you find a single bee that seems too exhausted to fly. Of course, many would like to help the weak bee. However, this turns out to be not as easy as it sounds at first: Since bees are social insects, the best way to save them is by bringing them back to their colony. In most cases, however, this is not possible, as the location of the beehive is often not known, especially with wild bees. Alternatively, you can try to help the weak bee with sugar water – but this method is only successful if it is really exhaustion alone. Sick bees that have been kicked off their hive cannot be saved even with the sugar water solution. In addition, one has to consider that a worker lives with the bees on average only 35 days, so that the animals found are often simply old age. However, one should never feed exhausted bees with honey: the risk of disease transmission is too great.
Bees help with a bee pasture
The simplest and most effective way to help bees is to plant bee-friendly plants. The following applies: the more, the better – the more varied the range of different plants, the more the bees benefit from them. Wild bees in particular can be supported with plant diversity, because many of them are highly specialized and can only use very specific plants. In addition, care should be taken to use plants with different flowering times in order to enable a rich food supply. From bee-friendly herbs to bee-friendly trees, there is something suitable for every garden. Even without your own garden, you can create a food supply with bee-friendly balcony plants. Above all, however, bee-friendly seed mixtures such as the bee pasture recommended by us have proven themselves. Thanks to the various plants it contains, even those who are new to the garden can use this to create a rich supply of food for bees that will exist throughout the year.
Anyone who wants to help bees should also rely on a garden that is as natural as possible and that does not use chemical agents.