Why we should please the bees
The United Nations has proclaimed May 20 as World Bee Day. Its aim is to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of bees and other pollinators. This is a really important issue, because much of the world's food production relies on pollinators.
Bees and other insects are particularly important pollinators, and they are under threat worldwide thanks to habitat destruction, land clearing and chemical use.
As gardeners, we can do a lot to help to keep pollinators safe, and therefore help to secure the future of our most important crops.
Like us, pollinators need food, water and shelter. So we need to grow flowers, and plenty of them. We'll talk more about this in the next few weeks. The key thing to remember is that you need plenty of variety, every day of the year.
Make sure there is water available. Insects can drown in birdbaths, so put in a few flat stones or something to create little ramps they can use to reach the water..
It's important to provide shelter from predators, as well as places to breed. Many of these insects are solitary and they shelter and re-produce in holes in branches, hollow logs, and even in the ground.
If you don't like the idea of hollow logs or a few dead branches in your garden, install some insect hotels. You can buy these or make your own.
After all this good work to provide food, water and shelter, make sure you don't kill the good guys with sprays and chemicals. Learn to accept and celebrate a bit of damage, recognising it as step in the life cycle of a beneficial or beautiful insect.
Finally, take the time to observe what is happening in your garden and to learn more about the insects you see. They might be on your side in this gardening game.