Bees: we all need them, but often forget them. For several years their numbers have declined rapidly due to a series of invading viruses. This year, however, I’ve noticed a lot more of them buzzing about.
This is good news for us all. More bees means more flowers are pollinated, which in turn means more fruit on the trees, more berries in the hedgerows…and of course more delicious honey!
We can all do our bit to help the bees. Window boxes with flowers can make all the difference, helping the bees find pollen without having to travel so far. Even if you live in a high-rise flat, there is usually a ledge outside the window on which a small tub with a few flowers can be placed. All you have to do is remember to water it in the summer.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, why not plant some flowering shrubs or other plants whose flowers will attract the bees?
At this time of year bees (especially the big bumbles) often blunder through open windows and then find it hard to get back out. If this happens, don’t panic. No bee will harm you unless you threaten it, or perhaps tread on it by mistake!
Take a piece of card or paper and a pot of some kind (an empty yoghurt pot for instance). Wait for the bee to settle. Walk over to it and place the pot over it gently but firmly (making sure you don’t trap a leg in the process). If the bee is on a vertical surface like a window you can still do this. Just make sure you hold the pot down firmly once you have the bee inside.
At this point the sound of the buzzing will increase dramatically, but don’t let this scare you. It’s just that the bee is not used to being cooped up.
Now you have the bee inside the pot, lift one edge ever so slightly (not enough to let the bee escape). Take the paper/cardboard and slide it under the pot. Hey presto, you’ll find that the bee is safely inside the pot and is none the worse for wear.
You can then take the pot, with the paper held firmly to it, back to the open window or door. Once there, lift the pot away from the paper and enjoy the pleasure of seeing the bee fly off unharmed, knowing you have helped some flowers to pollinate that might not have done – and added some more honey to a nearby comb!