Plant bee-friendly flowers, shrubs and trees. All these things provide nectar and pollen throughout the year. It is essential to have flowering plants rich in pollen and nectar from February through to October with no gaps.
Create and protect meadows and other areas rich in wild flowers. Sow wild flower seeds, leave flowers to set seeds before cutting or removing.
Let it grow wild. Native flowering plants in grassed areas, support the greatest diversity of insect pollinators by providing nectar and pollen resources, places to nest or breed and leaves for caterpillars. Specified areas will be cut less often to optimise conditions for pollinators. Where possible, cutting will be avoided until after September as this will help to protect bumble bee nests in those areas. It will also help the caterpillars nesting there to survive until next spring.
Don’t be too tidy. Identify and protect existing patches of natural and semi-natural land to allow wild flowers, shrubs and trees to flourish, providing places for breeding and nesting, as well as food sources for pollinators. Manage existing mixed species woodland by coppicing and thinning to provide food sources such as brambles and wild roses, and nesting places for pollinators. Creating wide sunny rides and other open areas in woodland allows wild flora to grow and creates good conditions for foraging pollinators. Build more bug hotels.
Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots. It is important to make sure pollinators can nest in safety so that they and the next generation can survive overwinter, to start again in the following spring. Some bumble bees nest underground in small mammal holes, under sheds and in heaps of compost or leaves which tend to be dry and dark. Others make nests above ground in thick grass or in trees. The many different species of solitary bees have particular nesting requirements. A few species will make their nests in lawns and many others favour bare patches of compacted soil, especially if sloping and with a southern aspect, where they can dig vertical nest tunnels.
Think carefully about whether to use pesticides. Only use pesticides in exceptional circumstances and think carefully about the use of herbicides – consider all the alternatives and only use where absolutely necessary.