Bees are an indispensable part of our eco system. Without them, to put it simply, plant life would die out. As varieties such as tomatoes, peas, apples and strawberries all rely on the humble bee to help them propagate, we’d be in big trouble. In fact, Friends of the Earth estimate that it would cost farmers an extra £1.8 billion every year to do the work that our black and yellow fuzzy friends do for free.

According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, bees are under threat thanks to a reduction in the number of wildflower areas and as a result, a loss of natural habitat. Add to this the dangers of pesticides, and a changing climate and it’s easy to see why bee numbers are falling – and fast.

So what can you do in your garden to help?

Buzzing Plants
The plants that work hard to attract the attention of bees are: lavender, sage, thyme, borage, buttercups, hollyhocks, anemone, geranium, calendula, poppies, sunflowers, and heliotropes. These guys are all utterly dependent on bees to help them pollinate and spread their seed. Because of this, they are all extremely colourful and scented plants that produce beautiful flowers in order to draw bees in like moths to flames. Nectar and pollen-rich flowers that bloom from late spring or early summer right through until the autumn are the best choices. If you can maintain a number of bee-friendly blooming plants right through the season, you will be ensuring that there is plenty of nectar about for all stages of the bee life cycle.

If you have the space, leaving a section of your garden to go natural and sowing it with wildflower seeds is a great draw for bees. Wildflower meadows are their natural habitat. You can pick up packets of wildflower seeds from your supermarket or local garden centre and it couldn’t be easier. Just give the soil you’re planting over a good rake, sprinkle the packet evenly, rake over one final time, give it a good water and you’re good to go.

Make a Bee n Bee
Do you see what we did there?! Making a bug hotel or ‘bee n bee’, could not be simpler. All you need is a length of drainpipe and a handful of hollow bamboo canes – both of which can be easily sourced from your local DIY store. Once you have everything you need, gather together the bamboo into a bunch of uneven lengths, tie them loosely with a piece of string just for ease, then slot them into the drainpipe. You could also use an empty soft drink bottle cut off at either end. Making a bee n bee provides bees with the perfect little hide out.

Every time you squirt a little honey on your toast, in your tea, or over your porridge, remember that you have our tiny buzzing friends to thank. Aside from its delicious sweet taste, honey is also an amazing natural health product.

Did you know that buying honey form your local area helps to control hay fever and other allergies? Did you also know that medicinal grade honey can be used to heal the nastiest of wounds thanks to its natural anti-bacterial qualities?

This is why we need bees. Not only do they pollinate our plants, but they also heal our weary human bodies and provide us with scrumptious honey for our breakfast.

Take a look at your back garden, how can you make it bee friendly?