In South Africa, the local honeybee is the most important pollinator of South Africa’s food crops. Globally, bees pollinate 35% of crops consumed by humans, so without them, we could face a major food shortage. Luckily, there are a few things you can do in your own garden to help save bees and stop their numbers from dwindling further. Here are five ways to turn your garden into a bee sanctuary.
Decide on a space in your garden to dedicate to your bee sanctuary. If it contains grass, allow the grass to grow a little and add piles of logs for shelter. Bees prefer a wild garden to one that is pristine so don’t mow the grass in this spot as often.
2. Think About Plants
Choose flowers that attract bees, such as jasmine, lavender, Cape honeysuckle, fuchsias, and agapanthus. You should also try to plant flowers that bloom at different times of the year to keep the bees well fed year-round.
Buying plants with single, ‘open’ flowers, such as daisies and foxgloves, will also allow little bees to reach pollen and nectar more easily.
3. Ensure They Have Water
Your bee sanctuary needs a water source so that your bees stay hydrated while pollinating your garden. You can do this in a number of ways:
– Fill a bowl or small bucket with water and cover the surface with wine corks. The corks will float on top, giving the bees somewhere to land.
– Take a dish or birdbath and fill it with rocks, twigs, marbles, and water. The bees will be able to land on the rocks and twigs sticking out of the water.
– Check your waterhole regularly to make sure there’s enough water in it to keep the bees happy.
4. Cut Out Pesticides and Insecticides
It may see obvious, but the use of pesticides and harmful toxins will discourage little honey makers from inhabiting your garden. Growing parsley, garlic, and basil in your garden will help to repel pests naturally, plus they can be used in cooking.
5. Open A Bee Hotel
A bee sanctuary isn’t complete without a place for bees to sleep. You can buy a bee hotel from a local nursery or make your own by drilling small holes into timber off-cuts. Bees use these holes as nesting chambers, so drill different sizes to accommodate various nests. Your hotel should sit well above ground level, and in a spot which gets enough shade in summer.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst