There are few garden goers who cause as much excitement as the humble bumblebee.
While some people fear them for their ability to sting; These surprisingly smooth little fuzzballs also have a huge following from those who appreciate everything they do for us. They are considered the gardeners’ best friends for good reason.
To celebrate International Bee Day approaching May 20th, I thought I was writing this article about beautiful vibrant bees.
Not enough people give them the respect they deserve as they are an integral part of surviving all life on earth as one of the most haunted pollinators on the planet.
Every third bite you eat is thanks to a bee, and 75% of our wild flora requires pollination. Without bees we would not only be hungry, but also unhappy in a gray and barren world.
There are 102 species of bees in Ireland, only one of which produces honey. The rest are bumblebees and solitary bees, which are just as important and just as fascinating. Watching a leaf cutter bee cut out a perfect circle and carry it away is one of my favorite sights.
Or the joy of finding one of those incredibly huge bumblebees that makes you wonder how they can actually fly with a bum that the Kardashians would be jealous of.
Unfortunately, these insects are in decline, two of our native species became extinct in the past 80 years and others are in danger of joining them.
10 of our species are classified as endangered, and six others are classified as critical. We must do our part to help the creatures that help us so much!
A garden full of flowers is a garden full of bees! You’ll find it easier to get the nectar in flowers that contain only a single row of petals.
Double flowers are beautiful and ruffled, but difficult to navigate when they’re less than an inch long. Studies have also shown that they are more likely to have a preference for purple / blue flowers.
Of course, having a field of easily accessible blue flowers means nothing when sprayed with herbicide or pesticide. So avoid these at all costs.
After the forage has found shelter, bumblebees often build underground nests in long grass or piles of leaves.
Lone bees like to dig into bare ground (a south-facing slope is perfect) to build a nest, while others find a pre-existing cavity and bring it home.
These cavities can be holes in buildings, hollow plant stems, or beehives that are widely used today.
Hang it facing south or east at a height of between 1 and 2 meters above the ground to make your blurry friends comfortable.
The chances are that your garden is already home to a lot of bees and you just never knew it.
When people find a bee that is exhausted and unable to fly, it has become common to give her a drop of honey to regain her strength. This has been found to be one of the worst options as there is a chance it may contain pathogens (which are harmless to humans) but has the potential to kill an entire colony of bees.
Sugar water is also a common solution, but it is also not the best option as it contains no nutrients, only bee junk food. The best option is simply to move the bee to a flower, or if you are still scared of them, you can move a flower to the bee.
Love them or fear them, it cannot be overlooked that these creatures are both fascinating and fundamental to life as we know it.
We need to dispel worries that these peaceful creatures want to reach us and accept that the only fear we should have of bees is the fear of losing them once they leave. We won’t be far behind.