Make your garden bee-friendly in summer

In summer, all species of bees are building up their strength with nectar and pollen. Bumblebee males and queens are starting to appear, and honeybee colonies may produce a swarm of workers, drones and a new queen to found a new colony.

You can make your garden more bee-friendly by providing suitable food and shelter at the right times for many different native bee species. Find out how you can start getting your garden buzzing, in Kate Bradbury's guide.

Leave small piles of woody prunings

Leave some areas uncultivated

Leave areas of uncultivated soil and small piles of woody prunings in borders and at hedge bases, where solitary bees and bumblebees can make colonies.

Dog rose

Grow native dog roses

Grow Rosa canina in wildlife hedges and at the back of borders to provide nectar and pollen, as well as rose foliage for leafcutter bees to use for nesting.


Allow weeds in grass

Allow areas of grass to grow wildflowers, such as daisies and dandelions, as an easy source of nectar throughout the summer.

Allow access to the edge of pondss

Think about water

Place a few stones at the edge of ponds or in bird baths. Bees that are foraging for water to cool their nests will be able to enter and exit safely.

Grow nectar-rich plants

Plant nectar-rich plants

Grow the following: allium, Aquilegia vulgaris, bergamot (Monarda didyma), buddleja, comfrey, coneflower (echinacea), dahlia, evening primrose, foxglove, Gaura lindheimeri, lavender, poppy (annual and oriental), sunflowers, thyme, verbena.

Find out more about plants for bees.

Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: Make your garden bee-friendly in summer
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bombero 03/07/2014 at 22:56

We already have as bumble bees have moved into one of our bird boxes!! They seem happy enough behind our summerhouse and we leave room for them to get on with their business and we get on with ours!

fidgetbones 03/07/2014 at 23:38

Tree bumble bees seem to really like bird boxes.

woodsider 17/07/2014 at 20:57

My garden is very bee-friendly, and in return my bees are equally friendly to me.
When working in my garden, it seems that if a bee wants to attend a particular flower it makes no difference if that flower is just a couple of centimetres from my nose, hand or knee. With a gentle buzz to let me know they are there, they just get on with their work, and I with mine.

Yesterday I was sunbathing and a small bee landed with a buzz on a flower right by me - so close, his bright orange backside was tickling my arm ! Now that is friendly !


Potsandpansies 17/07/2014 at 21:11

I love watching them struggle to push their way into the snap dragons. They always buzz indignantly as they try and squeeze back out!