Making your garden bee and insect friendly during winter
It's easy to forget about our crawly little friends during winter, but bees and insects need our support all year round. Bees do still pop out during winter now and again and they need to eat if they do. It's a good idea therefore to still look at what you can do during winter to support bees and other insects.
In the blog we'll have a look at some ways you can lend a helping hand this winter.
Leave your compost heap as undisturbed as possible
Bees that go overground during winter like to find little nooks and crannies to nest it and they might set up shop in your compost heap. As a result, it's best not to disturb your compost as much as possible. Better still, you could even poke holes in it to allow for little bee nesting places.
Our beehive style compost bin makes a great shelter for bees in the winter, complete with little holes they can use to fly in and out. Plus, it's a lovely-looking addition to your garden.
Plants and flowers
Having a diverse range of plants in your garden is really important to make sure you have something flowering at different times of the year. Crocus works especially well with our green roofs as it only needs a shallow planting area and flowers in the winter. In fact, a green roof on your bin, bike or log store is a great way to provide for wildlife all year round.
You could also consider honeysuckle and winter aconite, snowdrop, bluebell, hyacinth, which are all bee-friendly during winter time. Winter-flowering fruit trees are also great for bees if you can fit them in to your garden.
Early spring is when bees need to feed most, and they can get nectar from some of the earliest flowering weeds, like dandelions, before other plants have flowered. You can do bees a big favour and leave your weeding as long as you can until spring has truly sprung - this allows them more options to get much-needed nectar.
Some ways you can create shelter for bees during winter include:
- Make twig or log piles to allow bees to nestle in the gaps between them.
- Dig a small hole in the ground and cover it, leaving a small gap for insects to fly out.
- Put a bee-house or bug hotel in your garden. These are available at lots of garden centres or DIY shops, or you could make one with some bamboo rods.
- Poke small holes in your compost heap
Don't forget, some bees that are out of the hive during winter, particularly Queens, might need a bit of support. If you find a bee during winter, move it to a nearby flower if you can, or give it a mixture of sugar mixed with water to drink from. This will help give it enough energy to fly to a more suitable nesting place.
So with some simple steps in the garden, there are lots of things we can do to support our winged friends during the winter months.