Make your garden bee-friendly in winter

In winter, honeybees remain in their hives, occasionally coming out on sunny days. Bumblebee queens may be seen if mild weather encourages them to emerge from hibernation. Solitary bees remain in their nests until they're ready to mate. All need nectar if they emerge during winter, otherwise they're in danger of dying from starvation.

Help bees survive in winter, by following Kate Bradbury's practical guide.

Advertisement

Create leaf and twig piles

Create leaf and twig piles for bees to shelter beneath. Let fallen leaves stay where they drop and avoid disturbing them from autumn through to spring.

Leave compost heaps untouched

Leave compost heaps untouched, and avoid digging your soil until spring.

Grow ivy

Grow ivy on walls and fences to give shelter from heavy rain and provide a late nectar source for species that are still on the wing.

Grow winter flowers

Grow winter flowers such as Clematis cirrhosa, crocus, hellebores, mahonia, sarcococca, snowdrops, winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), winter heathers (Erica carnea) and winter honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii).

Find out more about plants for bees.

Advertisement

Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

If you find a queen bumblebee in winter and there are no nearby flowers to move her to, don’t ignore her. Mix 1tsp sugar with 1tsp water and pop it in a bottle top next to her. She will drink this solution (similar to nectar), which will give her enough energy to fly to a new hibernation site, or start a nest.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Make your garden bee-friendly in spring

Three ways to create a mini-meadow

Make your garden bee-friendly in summer

Related offers

Offer

Farmer Gracy save 15 per cent plus free bulbs

Save 15% at Farmer Gracy plus receive free bulbs

Save 15 per cent on the entire range of fantastic spring and summer bulbs at Farmer Gracy, plus receive 20 free double freesia bulbs with your order, worth £3.40.

Use code: BBCFREES15

Order now

Offer

CJ Wildlife Staten Bird Table

Save over £30 on a Staten Bird Table

Attract wild birds to your garden this winter with the Staten Bird Table. Designed to allow birds of all shapes and sizes to feed simultaneously, whilst the umbrella-shaped roof helps keep the food dry. Usually £129.99 you'll save £30 when you buy one now for only £99.

Order now

Offer

Subscriber only content Premium seed and free feeder offer

Save over £5 on premium bird seed plus receive free feeder

Help garden birds this winter, save over £5 on a 12.5kg bag of 'Premium No Mess Wild Bird Mix' from Birds&Bees and receive a free seed feeder worth over £4.99.

Unlock now