Steve Savage is a Biologist, Wildlife Author, and Educator. Steve recently ran a School Grounds Habitat Mapping CPD course at Worthing High School arranged by the E.Y.E. Project. He will also be running a workshop and giving the Key Note Speech at the forthcoming E.Y.E. Project 8th Worthing & Adur Eco Summit at Shoreham High School on Monday 13th July.
Steve has kindly provided a Bee Fact sheet for publication on our website and this is shown below.
Steve set up a bees on the beach project to demonstrate the value of bees to our rare vegetated shingle habitat – and through this he works with schools and other groups to help bees.
There are several ways that you can help support bees in your garden all year round. Bees need a constant supply of nectar and pollen so a garden that offers a variety of plants that flower at different times of the year is best. There are many types of bee and they specialise in different shaped flowers. Bees use up a lot of energy flying so growing plants close together will also benefit bees.
Spring Most bumble queens come out of hibernation in March at which time they will need a source of nectar. Lungwort is a good spring plants for bumble bees and early solitary bees such as the hairy footed bee. Grape hyacinth is good for honey and solitary bees, Flowering currant
Herbs, Marjoram, Rosemary
Chives, Borage, Comfrey
Sea holly (Eryngium)
Toadflax (Linaria purpurea)
Ivy Winter flowering
Winter flowering heathers
Winter flowering Clematis
*The type of plants will depend on soil type etc.
You can also plant mixed seeds such as a good wildlife mix or cottage garden mix. You can also grow climbing plants such as morning glory.
There are about 260 species of bee in the UK. There is only one species of honey bee, a few species of bumble bee and 250 species of solitary bee. Early 1980’s honey bees provided most of the pollination, following decline in hives over the last 30 years, this is no longer the case. This has been further affected by the loss of hives due to disease. Much of the commercial pollination is now done by insects such as bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies.
Honey bees collect extra food for the winter and are protected from the elements in their hive. This is not the case for bumble bees and solitary bees. Bumble bees usually hibernate as a queen to start the next generation, solitary bees make nests so that their eggs will survive until the following the spring. The latter can be given a helping hand by making special bee homes.
Nest homes can be made from a series of hollow canes or by drilling suitable holes in untreated wood’. A tunnel length of approximately 150 mm will be suitable.
If using canes, cutting them with slightly varying lengths helps the bees to find their particular nest. Please don’t use plastic straws as they may condensate. A range of hole size from 4mm to 10mm may attract variety of species.
Fix firmly so the nest does not move around. The nest entrance should face south or south east to get the early morning sun. The bee house should be positioned in full sun, and at least one metre off the ground. There must be no vegetation in front of it obscuring the entrances to the tunnels.
As autumn and winter can be very rainy, you must ensure your bee tubes are protected from excessive wet. If your bee house has a good over-hanging roof and is rainproof you can leave the tubes in place. Otherwise they must be moved somewhere cold and dry during the autumn and winter, such as a shed.
© Steve Savage 2013