With around 270 different types of bees in the UK, our gardens provide vital food, shelter and nesting places.
Bee Friendly Plants
One of the best ways to help bees is to plant flowering plants in your garden which are rich in nectar and pollen.
Here is pictorial list courtesy of Gardeners World that will help you select the best plants:
The other way you can help bees and other useful bugs is to avoid using pesticides wherever possible, never spray open flowers and always read and follow label instructions. Preventing and reducing pests and diseases by good cultivation, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and using biological control should always be the first line of control. If pesticides are used consider using short persistent organic products. Accepting the presence of some pests can provide larval food for pollinators, for example aphids are food for some hoverfly larvae.
Create Nest Sites
There are many types of solitary bees which nest in tubes, cracks in brickwork etc. and you can purchase ready made nests from your local garden centre to encourage them into your garden.
Some solitary bees nest in the ground, either in bare soil or short turf. They will find their own nest sites, so you just have to be mindful of their presence and tolerate the small mounds of soil deposited by the female bees when they excavate their nest tunnels.
Purpose built bumblebee nest boxes often go unused. Instead bumblebees often prefer to nest in holes in the ground, for example under hedges with plants along the base. One species, the tree bumblebee often uses bird nest boxes.
All bees require water so you can make a shallow margin in a pond or place a shallow dish filled with stones or marbles filled with water to provide a safe source of water.