They have been around, pollinating flowers for more than 120million years and are exceedingly good at it. One species even gives us honey. What’s not to like?
In parts of South West China bees are now so scarce due to over-zealous use of pesticides, that the apple and pear orchards have to be pollinated by human hands—with paintbrushes!
The most obvious solutions are to use fewer pesticides, or none at all, and to provide suitable habitats for feeding and nesting.
Aim for a selection of open headed flowers (not doubles) all through the growing season but beware ‘’Bee Friendly’’ labels in garden Centres. The type maybe friendly but it is probable they were sprayed with pesticides during their time in the nursery. By the time you buy them the poison will be in the pollen! Always ask before you buy.
Dave Goulson , in his book ‘The Garden Jungle, or Gardening to Save the Planet’, provides a wealth of information and ideas in an entertaining read. I believe David’s Bookshop stock it.
Through reading it I realised that dog and cat fleas are often treated with a proprietary product containing pesticides, some of which are lethal to bees, some of which must find its way into the garden or the water supply, or both. Not enough testing has been done on this issue yet, but I’m not taking chances any more. From now on my cat gets groomed daily with a metal flea comb and my ‘catches’ dropped into soapy water to die! It’s quite satisfying in a weird way.