How to attract bees and butterflies

Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are great to have in the garden. Unfortunately bees in some parts of the world are under threat due to climate change, parasitic mites and poor farming practices. As gardeners, we can all help!

The importance of pollinators

As pollinators, bees, butterflies and insects play an essential role in our gardens. They transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilising plants so they start forming fruits and seeds. 70 of the top 100 most popular food crops are pollinated by bees, and they pollinate 80 per cent of all flowering plants on earth!

So, what can you do at home to help encourage these important pollinators to frequent your garden?

 

 

A bee on a flower

Flowers for bees and butterflies

Bees are drawn to bright colours, particularly blue, white and purple, so planting bee-friendly flowers in your garden will attract bees to your garden and provide them with the pollen and nectar they need to survive. Flowers such as Calendula, Cornflower, Poppy, Nemophila, Marigold, Lavender and Alyssum should see your garden become a hive of activity. Native bees, many of which are stingless, prefer native flowers so Swan River Daisies are a must. Herbs such as Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Thyme and Mint are also favourites.

The effects of pesticides

Insecticides are rarely selective in what they kill, by spraying for bad insects, you’re more than likely going to kill the good insects too. A large number of common plant pests can be managed using companion planting and by encouraging beneficial predator insects and parasitoids into your garden. By creating a favourable habitat for the beneficial insects, you will have a better chance of controlling the pests. If you must spray, look for insecticides that are more natural in nature, and use them sparingly.

A butterfly on a flower

Provide a safe haven

Protect your bees from predators and encourage them to stay in your garden by providing them with a haven they can call home. Bees like to nestle into small gaps and be protected from the rain. Bee houses have become increasingly popular as they offer a range of little hidey holes for bees to seek shelter in.

Butterflies don't like wind, so houses that shelter from the wind will see butterflies hang around your garden too.

Keep them hydrated

Just like any living organism, insects need water, so supplying an insect-friendly water source in your garden will help keep them hydrated during the long hot Aussie summer. Bees can’t swim so make sure you include a little float for the bees and butterflies to land on as they drink. A rock placed in a shallow dish of water is a good idea.

Invite more bees and butterflies into your garden today

So why not make a bee-line for your local Bunnings to get started on your bee and butterfly haven

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