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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Find out more about plants for bees.

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Kate Bradbury says

You may find tree bumblebees take over one of your bird boxes. Tree bumblebees typically nest above ground. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Steer clear of the flight path and take down the nest in autumn, clean it and pop it back up. It may be re-colonised by birds the following year.

Kate Bradbury