One way to encourage more bees into your garden is to plant lots of flowers to attract bees and other pollinators.
For example, mixing flowers among the vegies not only adds colour, it helps to ensure that there are enough bees around to do the job. Of course the bees aren’t interested in helping the flowers; they’re simply chasing the pollen and nectar that the flowers produce. Pollination is incidental. Honey bees, while important, are not the only pollinators. Many other insects play a part in pollination, as do environmental factors such as wind. Native bees, of which there are more than 1500 species in Australia, are also critically important. Tomatoes, for example, are pollinated by what’s termed ‘buzz pollination’. Buzz pollination is almost impossible for honey bees but can be carried out by certain native bees.
Take special care when applying garden sprays such as insecticides. Remember bees and many other pollinators are insects so they will be adversely affected if insecticides are used without due care. They may even be harmed by other substances such as fungicides (*).
Click below for Australian experts’ views on pesticide risks to honeybees.