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In Britain we have over 250 species of wild bees (including Bumblebees) that pollinate over a third of our food crops. These are different from honeybees, so while we're all worried about the new honeybee colony collapse disorder, there is still much we can do to help create habitat for other wild bees that do not sting and do not suffer from the varoa mite that is affecting honeybees.
One thing you can do to help bees is grow the right plants.My new book 'Gardening for Butterflies Bees and other beneficial insects' has photos and ID charts for many of our different wild bees plus what plants they need.
Bumblebees are also endangered due to loss of habitat; you can find out more on the Bumblebee Trust website; http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/
|Bee nesting boxes|
Many ready-made homes for different insects are on the market now, but lots of people have found they do not work. Recent visitors to my garden have wanted to know the source of my successful bee nesting tubes; here is the link
Red Mason Bees will use them in spring and fill up the opening with mud after laying their eggs inside. Leafcutter bees will use the empty tubes in mid to late summer, sealing the tubes with a piece of leaf (often from a rose bush). Important to site them at the right height – about 1 metre above the ground level, and in full sun (tube ends facing south) Also most important to give them a good rain-proof roof. Getting wet is fatal as the cardboard gets soaked and rots. You can bring the tubes indoors in winter into a cold shed or unheated garage. It makes it easier to keep them dry.