How to Create a Bee-friendly Garden
School is out and summer is here! Now that the days are warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your kids outside and active. From den building to planting flowers, there are plenty of ways to keep your little ones interested and engaged outside (not to mention, reduce screen time!).
If you see bees buzzing around your garden, don’t shoo them away. Despite their “stinging” reputation, bees aren’t aggressive insects. They're just out and about looking for food—mainly nectar from the flowers in your garden.
Sadly, bees are becoming endangered. However, by creating a bee-friendly garden, you can help keep bees safe and watch your garden thrive!
1. Plant a Diversity of Flowers
Different species of plants flourish in different seasons. Having a variety of them keeps your garden vibrant and inviting for bees and other pollinators year-round. Bees are attracted to sweet-smelling flowers with vibrant colors like yellow and blue. Consider planting a bed of sunflowers and lavender!
2. Provide Shelter
Creating a habitat for bees allows them to rest and feel safe in the area, thus pollinating more! Unlike bumble bees that live in nests or honeybees that live in hives, leafcutters and other solitary bees find shelter in cavities of wood or plants. Similar to a birdhouse, you can buy or build a freestanding “bee hotel” as shelter and protection for them.
3. Create a Water Source
Don’t forget that bees drink water too! It helps them stay hydrated and to keep themselves cool during the summer heat.
Fountains and steep containers are a bit dangerous for bees, since they can easily drown. Instead, fill a small saucer with water and stones. You can also add sticks or corks that float, on which bees can rest.
Keep track of both the bees’ and flowers’ water needs with this helpful water tracker:
Download water tracker here!
4. Remember Bee Safety
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while gardening with our buzzing pollinators in mind:
- Avoid using loud landscaping tools. Equipment such as leaf blowers and strimmers may scare bees (and hurt wildlife!) and provoke them to attack.
- Be cautious of swatting at bees. This can also startle them and cause some species to swarm.
- Don’t touch bee nests/swarms/hives. Instead, phone a beekeeper to safely remove and relocate the nest away from pets and predators.
In addition to gardening, you can teach your children all about caring for bees and the environment with fun and educational activities.
Colouring is a great activity that helps children practice their motor skills. While in the garden, you can help them become more observant of the nature and colours around them. Ask questions such as which flowers they see insects fly around and what colours stand out to them.
Images courtesy of Angi.com
Keep your little ones busy and engaged by discussing different types of flowers that best attract bees, such as wildflowers, honeysuckles, and sunflowers. Parents can show images of these flowers and encourage their children to colour them.
Download all worksheets here!
From pollination to honey production, parents can explain how bees contribute to our ecosystem. With this spelling worksheet, children can associate images with bee-related vocabulary. Later, parents can review the vocabulary words via flashcards to review, which supports their child’s cognitive development.
Gardening is one of many ways to get your children outside and teach them about caring for nature. Bees and other pollinators like birds are essential to the ecosystem. Let’s do our part to protect them!
Ashley Cottrell, from Siege Media, is a writer, traveler, and former preschool teacher. As a freelance content creator, she has covered a wide range of topics, from family-fun craft ideas to sustainable living tips. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her nose deep in a chess match or jogging on the beach.
Many thanks to Ashley for contributing this blog and the brilliant downloads.
- Sarah Edgeworth