Summer is here and whilst we're half way through the holidays, there is still plenty of time to enjoy your garden with your children. What's more, you can take on a little project such as turning your outdoor space into a bee sanctuary. This is fantastic if you've been homeschooling during lockdown but it will be brilliant for the bees too. Let's have a look at why spending some tie together outdoors is good for you, and how you can make it good for the bees too.
Health Benefits For You & Your Children
Spending some outdoor time together is a great way to make memories and bond. Whether it's kicking a ball around the grass or playing a game of throw and catch, you enjoy fresh air and time together. There is also the Vitamin D boost of being in the sunshine, which is something we all lack in our systems according to the experts. Appreciating the outdoor space that we have, whether it's a garden, a yard or a balcony is fantastic. Look at the views, plant some flowers and maybe even grow some of your own produce. Let's look at how we can help the bees too.
Focus On The Bees
We all know that bees are so important to our lives. According to the World Bee Project, there are 20,000 different species of wild bees globally. 250 species of bees in the UK. Did you know that three quarters of the world's food crops depend on pollination. If bees became extinct, we would struggle to sustain the 7 billion people currently in our global human population. To start with, our supermarkets would only have half the amount of fruit and veg.Take a look at this video, presented by Maddie Moate explaining just how close we are to losing our bees.
If you need a little help in the garden, there is a super range of discounted gardening books available at The Works including titles that can help you welcome bees to your garden. A couple of these to mention are ‘The Urban Wildlife Gardener' and ‘The Good Bee: A Celebration of Bees and How to Save Them'. These publications are a great read and can really inspire you and your family to help the bees.
Ten Top Tips
Let's take a look at ten top ways that you can make your garden that little bit more bee friendly.
- Take time to educate yourselves about bees. Children are so often frightened of things that buzz around the, but bees are not dangerous. They are looking for flowers, not trying to hurt people.
- Avoid using pesticides, fungicides or herbicides on plants, or indeed anywhere in your garden. These can kill the bees.
- Plant flowers that will encourage bees. They adore those traditional cottage garden flowers and wildflowers like primrose, buddleia and marigolds.
- Leave a section of your space unattended. By this we mean, let it grow. They love long grass and weeds such as dandelions are a great source of food for them.
- Spend an afternoon building a bug hotel with your kids. Use twigs and bamboo, tied together with string. Position it somewhere sheltered to provide a home for insects, including bees.
- A tiny sugar hit can help a tired bee. Two teaspoons of white granulated sugar with one teaspoon of water can help a bee out. Pop it on a plate or drip it on a flower. You can also use milk bottle tops as little bowls, screwing them to your fence or placing them around different parts of your garden to help the bees.
- Even if you only have a small balcony, you can use it to help the bees. A basin of water will help them to drink during sunny summer days. Float a couple of corks on top so they can something to land on. You can also get potted plants that attract bees. The RHS have a great list that will help you with this.
- Buy local & raw honey from your local beekeepers. Try farmer's markets for these where you can get to know the beekeepers and ask questions.
- If a bee finds it's way inside – we're not sure why they do this when they have so much freedom outdoors – don't kill it. Simply open the windows and give it time to find it's way out. If it doesn't, a glass and a piece of paper are your friends to cupping it and releasing it back outside.
- If you find yourself getting the ‘buzz' (sorry, not sorry!) you might even consider becoming a beekeeper. You could get a hive for your garden or if you live in an apartment complex, you could ask the building owner if you could utilise the rooftop for a couple of hives.
Enjoy spending time with the kids learning about the bees that help us out in this life so much. Give them a helping hand and equip yourself with the knowledge of what they do.
Save the bees and enjoy some time in your garden.