Bees are invaluable members of all wildlife on earth, they are fantastic pollinators and account for pollinating over 66% of the world’s crops. There are a number of ways in which you can increase the likelihood of them visiting your garden and some of them won’t cost you a single penny! Read on to find out how to attract bees to your garden.

bumblebee on cherry blossom flower

Why are bees important?

In the UK alone, we have approximately 270 species of bees ranging from honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. Most of the total is made up of solitary bees which don’t live in hives/colonies, nor do they have a queen.

It’s important to keep in mind the different types of bees native to your region as this can influence exactly how to attract these types to your outdoor space as bees are fantastic pollinators and are an essential part of a plant’s life cycle. 

How to Attract Bees to Your Garden

Provide a source of nectar

Growing flowers that bees are attracted to is a surefire way of attracting them to your garden. Bonus points for using native wildflowers/perennials as these will help the local wildlife thrive in general and enrich the biodiversity naturally. 

Avoid having turf or artificial grass at all but if it is absolutely necessary then create a section of your outdoor space that is dedicated to re-wilding by sowing wildflower seeds. Read our blog on how to sow wildflower seeds for tips on the best way to do this.

Flowers bees love:

bee getting nectar from a purple flower

Make or buy a bee house

You can buy lots of different types of wildlife care that could assist bees by providing shelter. One of the best options is by purchasing a commercially made bee house or to create your own using different found and/or bought materials. As long as you position your bee house in full sun you should be getting small winged visitors to it in no time!

The easiest way to make your own bee house is to get small logs/blocks of (untreated) wood and drill lots of different sized holes into it (including lots between 2-6mm, a bee’s preferred diameter, and approximately 10-15cm deep). Another option is to use bamboo canes so that bees and other insects can travel inside them for protection against the elements.

Provide other shelter and water

If you don’t have the time or resources to create a dedicated bee house, you can try making a deadwood habitat that will attract and house a whole range of local insects and wildlife. Simply gather logs, twigs and branches before placing horizontally in a quiet, sunny spot in your garden. 

It’s also vital for bees to have access to water in your garden, this can be in the form of a shallow dish/bird bath, water feature, planter or pond. So long as there is a shallow area for bees to safely quench their thirst.

Other tips

  • Avoid using pesticides at all and if you have to use one, try using the least toxic one available on the market.
  • Leave dead leaves, fallen twigs, etc in your garden for bees to use as shelter where necessary. 
  • Allow weeds to proliferate a while longer in your garden (especially dandelions early and late in the season).
  • Avoid placing sugary water or honey out for bees and only use the former of the two options under dire circumstances when there are no nectar-filled blooms nearby and you come across a tired bee. Honey may cause disease in bees if consumed from a different hive