Encouraging Pollinators

allotment-bee-3Writes Gill Case

There are around 220 species of Solitary bees in the UK. Solitary bees are wonderful pollinators; they carry less pollen than honey bees so they have to make many more trips back and forth from the flowers to their nest which means many more flowers get pollinated in the process. They are about 100 times more efficient as pollinators than honey bees, and because they have no honey to protect they are docile. This means as allotment holders we need to encourage them onto our site.

Solitary bees nest either in the ground, or in holes in wood; in order to encourage bees onto our plots we can provide nesting boxes. These can be easily made from a log with 6mm and 8mm holes drilled into it, or custom made bee hotels in the form of a frame with bundles of 10 – 20 mm lengths of bamboo or dead hollow stems inside. Solitary bees love the morning sun so place your bee home in full sun and firmly fix it so it doesn’t move, bees do not like their homes moving! The flight path should be unobstructed allowing the bee easy access.

Pre drilled logs to use as bee homes will be available at the Church Crookham Allotments Association Autumn show on October 4th 2015.