Bees contribute around £651 million to the British economy. Yes, really. Figures suggest that because bees are such a vital part of our eco-system and are relied upon to pollinate food crops, they are worth millions of pounds to the UK economy each year. However, in recent years the number of bees has rapidly declined due to destruction of their preferred natural habitat and the increased use of harmful pesticides. The Chesterfield Mayfair, keenly aware of this fact, keeps its very own bees on the hotel’s roof. The Chesterfield has four hives, totalling around 250,000 bees during summer, and even harvests its own honey which is served in the hotel. You can also take simple steps in your own garden to provide a bee-friendly environment with these top tips for keeping bees buzzing and happy.
Reduce or stop using pesticides, and opt for bee-friendly alternatives
In recent years, many widely-used pesticides have been found to be highly toxic for bees, and consequently, they have been banned. Ideally, keep garden pesticide free, or at least limit your use and be sure to choose bee-friendly alternatives. Natural remedies include neem oil, vinegar and Epsom salt.
Make your own insect house
Allow your local bees to make a house a home by including an insect house in your garden. This will provide a valuable nesting location for solitary bees, and you can even make your own – providing it has a waterproof roof.
Grow your grass
Bees are particularly drawn to lawns with plenty of flowers, so it’s advisable to allow your grass to grow longer and think twice before you get rid of lawn weeds, such as dandelions or clover.
Buying organic plants and bulbs means you can be sure they have been grown without the use of pesticides or insecticides, creating an environment in your garden that will better attract bees.
Plant pollinator-friendly plants, and lots of them
Aim for plenty of flowers of varying colours and shapes, as well as plants that are known for being particularly good for pollinators, such as lavender. Variety is key and colours like yellow, purple, white and blue are great for attracting bees.
Provide plenty of water
Bees need water in order to cool their hives. They do this by gathering water droplets, so when the temperatures rise, it’s a good idea to make sure there is water available. A simple bird bath or small water receptacle will help them keep their hives cool in the height of summer.
Sample The Chesterfield Mayfair’s delicious, homegrown honey when you enjoy breakfast at the hotel.