Without wild bees and honey bees there would be no fruit, no vegetables and no flowers. Anyone who has a garden can do a lot to preserve the beneficial insects.
Why do we need more “bee-friendly gardens”?
Nowadays, green spaces in the city or private gardens are often designed in such a way that they should please the human eye, i.e. they are aesthetically oriented. What is interesting for bees, but also for other living things, is not taken into account. As there are fewer and fewer habitats and food supplies for bees, bee-friendly gardens that offer food and nesting sites all year round are becoming increasingly important.
What does a “bee-friendly garden” look like in concrete terms?
Anyone who already has a garden or is taking over a garden should first do a status analysis to see which bee-friendly shrubs and trees that are useful for nature are already there.
Since in winter it is usually difficult to see what will bloom in spring, neighbors who already know the garden could help. We also recommend an expert who can take a look at the garden and give tips. Anyone who has known and cared for their garden for a long time can use recommendations to check which plants and trees are really bee-friendly.
Just go to the hardware store and get started, so it’s not a good idea?
No, first of all it is also about what your own wishes you have for the garden, how you want to use it, in order to design it accordingly. However, spacing regulations when planting trees and bushes must also be observed. It must be clear how big some trees can become and whether the space at all fits in the garden.
Then there are the site conditions, where is shadow, where is light, what is the soil like? Not everything grows equally well in every place. Bees can nest in older, neglected garden areas, so I advise you not to dig everything up immediately. If you have sandy spots in the garden that are also in the sun, you may already have wild bees in the ground that you won’t see right away.
Surely bees also have certain requirements that one should be aware of?
The honey bee actually accepts everything that flowers. Wild bees, on the other hand, are specialists when it comes to the food supply; First of all, it should also be clarified which bees come into my garden at all, so that I don’t plant something that is not needed and can adapt the offer accordingly. A local specialist can be asked about this. If you have the time, you can just sit in your garden and watch which animals can be seen there. It is important not to plant double flowers and breeding varieties that are useless for bees.
What are “double flowers”?
In many plants it is intentional in breeding that the stamens are also petals, so they only offer color. Bees then no longer find any pollen or nectar in these “filled flowers”. In hardware stores and nurseries, you should therefore ensure that you only select flowering plants on which bees can be seen. Even if you only buy spring bloomers, you won’t have anything blooming for the bees in summer.
Does that mean that the bees will then no longer find any food?
In order to provide the bees with food all year round, the different flowering times should be taken into account. A perennial bed can be laid out so that something always blooms between March and October. Wild perennials, which you can get in wild perennial nurseries, are particularly recommended.
They come from nature and have not been changed by gardeners or growers. Herbs and vegetables can bloom beyond autumn and then serve as food. Also, the dead plant stems should not all be cut back, because some species of bees use them as nesting or sleeping places. The larvae overwinter in the hollow stems and hatch in spring.
Does it also help if I simply create a flower meadow?
Many wildflower mixes only attract honeybees, so I recommend using regional seed mixes from local stocks. However, if you still want to use the lawn in the garden as a playground for your children, you should avoid the wildflowers, as the area is then difficult to walk on. Better than just having lawn, however, is to plant plenty of crocuses, for example, to supplement the food supply. Wildflower meadows should also only be mowed twice a year after the plants have already run down.
What else can I do besides the planting?
Depending on the size and structure of the garden, boulders and stacks of dead wood can be included. Solitary bees like to breed in the cracks in the stones, and in the pile of dead wood there are mice, and bumblebees like to move into their structures. Mini ponds that are available at hardware stores attract more animals and provide a good source of water. Instead of concrete and asphalt, there should be paths made of gravel or slabs with joints.