Berlin (dpa / tmn) – In addition to the honey bee, there are more than 560 wild bee species. “Some types of bees are very specialized – the ivy silk bee, for example, only collects pollen from ivy flowers. Other wild bees are generalists, they fly to different flowering plants, ”explains Corinna Hölzel from the Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany eV (BUND) in the topic service discussion.
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It is therefore all the more important that the range of hiding places, food and nesting options for bees is varied. “Species-rich wildflower meadows with perennial plants are good for many types of bees,” says Hölzel. The meadows thrive best on nutrient-poor soils.
Seed mixtures for bees
“If you want to buy seed mixtures, you should choose local flowering plants,” advises Hölzel. Her tip: “Avoid exotic plants and double flowers”. It is better to pay attention to regional origin.
“The mix shouldn’t contain too many grasses either, as they don’t provide pollen or nectar. Usually a percentage is given for this – the proportion should not be more than 30 percent. ” Especially since grasses grow quickly. “They shoot up and take the light from flowering plants,” explains Hölzel.
The soil should be prepared before sowing – that is, remove the sward, dig up and remove all roots and stones. “It is important not to destroy any valuable nesting areas or hiding places for the bees. Ideally, one should observe a year in advance whether bees are living in the open areas, ”advises Hölzel.
“Many bees like cornflowers, poppies and daisies,” says Hölzel. Popular flowers among bees are, for example, knapweed, bellflower, poppy seed, wild carrot, marigold, adder’s head as well as daisies and thistles.
It is better to rarely mow wildflower meadows
Anyone who creates a wildflower meadow should rarely mow it. “Ideally only twice a year and not until June”. But gradations are also possible. “In addition to a lawn that is mown more often, you can consciously leave a piece of meadow standing and observe what is settling there”. Every now and then you have to mow so that individual plant species do not spread too much.
The important thing is then: The cuttings have to be removed from the area – i.e. not mulching. Because when the nutrients decompose, humus forms – and with it too many nutrients for many flowering plants. You should also refrain from fertilizing flowering meadows.
Alternatives to the wildflower meadow
“If you don’t want to do without a walk-on lawn in your garden, you can grow clover, daisy, Gundermann, speedwell and sharpening, for example,” says Hölzel.
In addition to flowers, flowering shrubs can also provide food for bees – such as sloes, sweet cherries or berry bushes such as currants, raspberries or gooseberries. “Willows have the first pollen in spring – that is pure energy for the bee brood,” explains Hölzel.
If you don’t have enough space for a whole meadow, you will also find alternatives for your balcony. “Wild bees love blooming herbs,” says Hölzel. She recommends sage, lemon thyme, savory, mint, and basil.
“It is important to always leave some herb stalks so that they can bloom.” Cornflowers, blue pillows, nasturtiums or vine bellflowers are also suitable for the balcony – and a source of food for wild bees from March to October.
There are also plants in the vegetable garden that are popular with certain bees. “For mask bees and fur bees, for example, you can grow leeks, onions, rose and kale and let some plants bloom for the bees.”
Shelter, nesting facilities, hiding places
Appropriate food and shelter are important. But that’s not enough. “You should generally refrain from using pesticides in the garden, because these kill or at least damage wild bees and other beneficial organisms,” says Hölzel. She also advises against using peat-containing potting soil. “Because the mining of peat destroys ecosystems, among other things.”
Likewise, wild bee hotels or insect hotels are not helpful for all bee species. “Three quarters of the wild bee species here do not even nest above the ground,” explains Hölzel. You need open ground as well as loamy or sandy areas. “They drill little holes in it.”
If you want such bees to settle in the garden, you can offer them a sandy area, for example. The pile of sand should be 40 centimeters wide and deep, if possible. “If there is soil under the sand, a shallower depth may be sufficient,” says Hölzel.
However, one should not take play sand out of the sandpit. “This is mostly washed sand without any clay, loam or wood. The bees’ nesting tubes would collapse. “
Stacks of dead wood are also very popular with some species of bees. “Some wild bees nest directly in the dead wood. Wasps, on the other hand, use rotten wood to build their filigree nests, ”explains Hölzel. And another tip: if you leave faded perennials in the garden, wild bees offer shelter for the winter.