Bees and Wild Flowers

Attracting Bees and Wild Flowers is something most people are now aware of.

Bees are one of the most familiar of garden insects.  The sight and sound of them buzzing from flower to flower is part of British summertime. It is well known that they are struggling to survive at present.

A lot of the information below is drawn from an excellent organisation and resource called the  http://bumblebeeconservation.org/    If you want to learn more or support them visit their website.

One easy way to categorise bees is to split them into three types.

Bumblebees                                        Solitary Bees                                    Honey bees.

To most people, bees are instantly recognisable but there are distinct differences between the appearance and lives of bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees. Bumblebees are larger and hairier than their cousins which makes them perfectly suited for colder climates. Bumblebees can also be categorised as ones with long or short tongues.

Whilst in the UK there are 24 species of bumblebee only eight are commonly found in most places. Bumblebees thrive in a variety of habitats and most people should be able to attract them to their gardens if they have the right kinds of flowering plants.

Their extra insulation allows them to venture out on cold days when honeybees stay tucked up inside. But bumblebee nests are small and they do not store large quantities of honey. They are more sensitive to the availability of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed on.

Don’t confuse bumblebees with wasps or honeybees. Bumblebees do not swarm and are not aggressive. Only female bumblebees can sting and they will only do so if they feel very threatened. Importantly, bumblebees will never interrupt your picnic!

It is understood that bees need and benefit from more wild flowers. Also that different wild flowers grow on different soil types. Where it then becomes interesting is that you need a mix of flowers that are specific to both soil type and the type of bee you wish to help. These may be quite different mixes.

For example

A mix to attract Bumblebees on Chalk Soil might want to contain at least;

Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Kidney Vetch, Lady’s Bedstraw and Small Scabious amongst others.

A mix to attract Honey Bees on Damp Soil might want to contain at least;

Betony, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Lesser Knapweed, Devil Bit Scabious and Red Clover

On small areas you could look at one of our general mixes such as our;

Bee Border or

Plugs Plant Mixture for bees.

But if you want to plant a larger area specifically to benefit a certain type of bee then talk to us and we will be happy to price up a specific mixture.

Tim Evans on 0800 0854399 or by e-mail shop@meadowmania.co.uk