Parishioners in St George’s Parish, Belfast published information on how to protect the bees in their last magazine and are hoping to have a similar hint for the environment each month. They also had a short piece about trying to use less heating in the home.
Hint: Help bumblebees
You might notice large bumblebees in your garden this month. These are newly emerged queens, and they will often spend time crawling around the ground searching for somewhere to start their nest this year. There are some things you can do to help:
1. Be untidy! Try not to view your garden as another room in your house. It doesn’t have to be a wilderness, abut avoid the temptation to make it too “tidy”. Leave a couple of areas undisturbed: areas of uncut grass are particularly useful, as bumblebees can create nests in these grassy tussocks.
2. Lose the word “weed”: change how you view “weeds”. These are mainly pioneering wildflowers that are utilising your garden as a habitat, and many of them can benefit wildlife. Dandelions and clover in particular are important sources of pollen and nectar for pollinating insects, especially bumblebees. Try to resist the urge to cut them as soon as they appear- allow them to flower for a few weeks.
3. Ditch the sprays: avoid the use of chemicals. Insecticides and herbicides might reduce “pests”, but they can be very damaging to wildlife, and generally aren’t necessary in a garden environment. You will find more bees and butterflies without the use of chemicals, and yes you might have less perfect plants, but think about why you are gardening in the first place? If you want to improve your environment, and help nature, then think of your garden as a mini ecosystem.