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1. A world after bees

2. What you can do
3. The History of Bees
4. Types of bees
5. Flowers
6. Of Bees and Trees
7. Water
8. Planting without a garden

9. Emergency Rescue

10. Dealing with Environmental issues

11. Recipes for Bees

12. Sugar Syrup

13. Thymol
14. Pollen Substitute

15. Bee Health Supplement

About the Author

"In the Universe great acts are made up of small deeds"
Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching

I n the modern world, despite all the convenience, we seem more busy than ever. Running here, there
and everywhere, there just isn't enough hours in the day. Saving bees, although we all agree is
important to our survival, can seem to just too time consuming to fit in.

Here's an idea. What if, for just one afternoon of your time, you could really make a huge difference the
future of bees, in fact to the future of all of us?

Imagine that, in just 4 hours, you really can change the world.

Most of the things that normal people like you and me need to do in order to save the bees doesn't take a
lot time, doesn't cost a lot of money and the results are pretty good to look at as well. So why wouldn't
you? People try grandiose ideas to save bees, when it's really the simple stuff that will make all the
difference. I've collected the essential parts of my workshops, honed them right down and created a plan
that could be done in an afternoon - it's that simple.

So make me a little promise (no crossing your fingers). Read this book, put aside 4 hours of world saving
time, and then pat yourself on the back, you have really made a difference.

So, I'll meet you on the porch in 4 hours where we can admire your handy-work.

B ees run a very real risk of becoming extinct in the next few years. Already, in the last few years
several types of bee have become extinct. It is a very real problem.

It would be nice if we could find the one threat that has created this issue. We could then point our fingers
at it, solve the problem and all would be good again. But it's just not that simple. The causes of the bees
pain is manyfold, however the solutions are fairly simple, if everyone does their bit.

The main issues that bees face (and for this you can read Honey bees, Bumblebees or Solitary bees) are
connected to changes in their environment (mainly caused by us) but the environmental changes aren't
irreversible, we can put things right.

Understanding the threats goes some way to seeing how a solution can be found.

1. Varroa mites.
You may have heard of these, they are parasitic little mites that live in the hive. They actually lay their
young within the larvae of beehives (they do affect bumblebees as well). Once the bee emerges the mite is
well and truly stuck on it and sucks it fat bodies . This severely weakens the bee and passes on a disease
(Varoosis), As this weakens the bee, it is more prone to other diseases (such as K-wing) and cause a
massive loss within a hive.
We can't eradicate varroa, it's here to stay, but bees have faced other mites and survived. However,
we can ensure bees are stronger, and so better placed to handle varroa and fight off infections.
2. Environmental change
The world has changed, and is still changing, which has an impact on all life on this planet. As the
planets warms, so our seasons change, which has a direct impact on the bees, their food sources, their
nesting sites and generally everything else they need to live.
By adapting what we do to the changing conditions, and offering them the support they need for the
weather conditions, we can do a lot to help.

3. Food stock
It's no surprise to anyone that bees food stock has decreased massively over the past few decades. We
have changed how we use the green areas around us, our gardens, our parks, even our road verges. By
putting a little effort into these areas, we can rebuild them. We can have the flowers and trees that bees
need. Even if you don't have a garden, there's plenty you can do to help bees

4. Lack of understanding
There was a time when every house would have a beehive, or be very near to one. Knowing how to
help bees would have been natural, we would have either been involved directly, or known someone who
was their to give us advice. Sadly, These days have now passed. However, we can still learn about bees,
we can learn how to help them and what's happening in their world..

5. Chemical insecticides
Insecticides are there to do one job, kill insects. Bees are insects, so one way or another an
insecticide is a threat to bees. Many of the insects we kill are actually helpful to the garden, they make it a
better place. By understanding these insects, and discovering how we can encourage the good insects and
dissuade the bad ones without insecticides, we are doing a lot to help bees.

Although you won't be able to single handedly get rid of any of these issues, you can make a difference,
and it doesn't take that long to do - give me 4 hours, and I will show you how to make a massive
difference to the bee population around you.


T his is intended as brief summary of the impact a declining bee population has on the world as a
whole. These are my thoughts, and no doubt there are those that would disagree with it, and some
who say I haven't gone far enough.
While we argue over the details, bees are really dying. It's up to you whether they survive or not.

If we lose our bees, it won't be in one Earth shattering day. There will be a tipping point we pass, you
probably wouldn't notice it's happened. The amount of food available just won't be enough to sustain the
existing population, the bees we have won't be able to pollinate the numbers of plants needed to maintain
their survival. We go into a bee tailspin, there is nothing at that stage that can be done.

Within the first 12 months you will notice is the numbers of flowers decreasing. Where once your gardens
had plenty of flowers, there will only be a few, those pollinated by other insects. Certainly it will be a lot
more green. You may well just put it down to a bad summer.

Within the second year crop yield will be low, forcing prices up on what little food there is. Store staples
such as mayonnaise , coffee, tea, wine, spirits, cigarettes and vegetable oil will become increasingly
difficult to get hold of, eventually vanishing from our shelves altogether.
Berries that normally would be apparent throughout the year will not be seen as nothing has been there
to pollinate the flowers. Smaller birds that depended on these will start to starve, their numbers will
decrease dramatically within 24 months. Mice and other small mammals that also rely on berries will
being to disappear.
The decrease of plant life will have a damaging effect on the remaining pollinators (such as moths,
ants and hover-flies). Bees are the main pollinator for many of the flowers that these rely on for a food
source, the declining bee numbers means there is less food for them. So they starve. Which means they
pollinate less flowers. The tail spin is speeding up.
Trees will start to disappear. Many trees are pollinated by bees, their loss of numbers means the trees
aren't being pollinated. Birds and mammals that are dependent on those trees will now be at serious risk
of extinction. Of course, the lack of trees means that the oxygen levels will start decreasing worldwide, in
an already over-polluted environment this will begin forcing other animals into extinction.

It's now three years since the tailspin began.

The number of bees is now seriously decreasing, there are fewer bees to mate and produce offspring for
the next generation. The ones that can mate, are now inbreeding, increasing the risk of genetic diseases.
Flowers have all but disappeared, there are a few left but not many. Gardens are largely grass oasis's
now, with little colour.
Larger mammals that have been feeding on the smaller mammals and birds will begin to suffer the
consequences of the bees decline. We will probably see a large increase in the population of rats,
foraging on the carcasses of those animals that have starved to death.
With the insects and small mammals reptiles rely on to survive having gone, or are at the brink of
extinction, their numbers will decrease significantly.
As stock piles of cotton are now depleted, the price of clothing soars. We will have to rely more and
more on animal based fibres such as leather, wool and tweed along with man made fibres such as nylon.

It's now four years since that fateful day, the Honeybees have almost gone, a few colonies are left around
the world, the Bumblebees have completely gone, the Solitary Bees are hanging on, but their numbers are
seriously reduced. The remaining insects are struggling to survive in the new world.
The sky's no longer echo the sounds of birds as they are now on the brink of extinction. Our deciduous
forests didn't survive the last winter, instead fir trees are the only trees we see.
Colour has disappeared from the world.
The reducing oxygen levels, combined with the reduced amount of nutritional food has a serious
impact on the numbers of humans surviving. Disease and starvation is rife.
Grazing cattle, although eating grass, also need other plants such as clover for nutrients. The clover
has long gone, and so their health is suffering, reducing the number of cattle available for meat, leather
and milk.

It doesn't have to be this way.

We still have the chance to save the bees, but we have to act now. Not just with Honeybees, but with all
bees. And none of it is difficult. You have taken the first step by reading this book, by the end of this book
(and this afternoon) you can really make a difference to the future of bees.


I f everyone plants a pot for bees that just one square foot in the US that would mean 185,433,884 extra
bees fed. In the UK it would mean 37,672,176 bees fed, Australia 13,484,714 bees and Canada
20,827,594 bees.

Thats just one square foot. Think of what you could so with 2 or maybe 3 ?

The biggest problem I've come across with people who want to help bees is where do they start?

There is so much in the news about the threats to bees it can get confusing. So let's make this simple, a lot
of bees problems would be made a lot easier to handle if they had a better food source.

The Varroa mites we hear so much about, only weaken already drained bees. If they bees had a healthier
food supply and were stronger, this would become less of an issue. They would be more resistant to the
efforts of the mites.

By learning the basics of pesticide free gardening we can ensure that the food they have is safe for them to
eat. This is a large part of the reason why I advocate using container plants as these need less pesticides,
and so are inherently safer for bees. In fact they're safer for any insect.

By learning about bees, you can understand what needs to be done to help them on a daily basis. This goes
beyond creating a haven in your garden for them, it is about understanding how environmental changes
affect the bees.
In order to help you understand more about bees we have created the Wild Bees Journal, it gives you
up to date information on how to help the bees given the current environmental situation. Every month we
give you information on what bees are doing, and what you can do to make their life easier. It has loads of
other information as well about bees and plant lore, so make a really good read, if you like bees of

Everything in this book is designed to be quick and easy. Within just a few hours you can have an area that
truly helps save the bees,


B efore we begin to look at how to create a Bee haven, it would help if we look at the history of
Bees. This way we can understand what they need, and more importantly why.
So let's go back to a time before Bees, probably about 150 Million years ago. Pterodactyls ruled the
skies, whilst Stegosaurus wandered the earth below. There were no flowers as we would know, they
hadn't evolved yet. Ants were yet to evolve (they would be another 50 million years). Hunting groups of
Solitary Wasps would look for carrion, or ambush prey much as their modern day ancestors would
eventually do.
They nested in tunnels, usually in mud, depositing small eggs along with the carrion (and sometimes
still living prey) for the larvae when it emerged.
There would be times of significant rain, when the tunnels collapsed, it is likely at these times they
used the trees that were abundant, finding small tunnels left by burrowing beetles into which to leave their
Of course, meat was not always available, but the plentiful pollen (protein rich in it's own right) that
enabled the commonplace ferns to reproduce, served as a supplement at these times, even serving as a
complete replacement in very bad times.
The young larvae that emerged from the pollen filled nests would have been fuelled purely by pollen,
and so sought it as food in their formative years.
Thus Bees were born.
It is not difficult to see the similarities between these first Bee prototypes and our modern Solitary
Bees. Bumble Bees and Honey Bees were yet to evolve, but the model for the Bee had been created.
Until now all plants had been wind pollinated, a process that was very unreliable and unproductive.
As the new Bees moved between plants, they carried the pollen with them, enabling the plants they visited
to reproduce, for a share of the booty.
Nature being as it is, realised this was a much better way to reproduce and so plants evolved flowers
to attract their new found partners.
As the flowers evolved, so did the Bees. Wasps have always been hairless, Bees evolved hairs to
capture the pollen more efficiently, even their eyes became covered in small hairs. Their bodies changed
to become rounder, creating a large surface area to collect pollen on.
Bees, in common with most invertebrates never evolved an immune system. Instead they relied on self
cleaning to get rid of any mites. When additional aid was needed propolis, a resin created by trees and
shrubs to protect new buds, was used for it's strong antiseptic qualities, and mycelium, which is a fungi
that grows on rotting wood, would serve as an antibacterial.
To make an even more attractive offering to Bees nectar evolved into the sugary substance it is today,
so fragrant, Bees could smell it from a large distance.
The arms race of flower pollination had begun.
Solitary Bees already nested in groups, but not socially. That would first come with the Bumble Bees
who put in an appearance about 50 Million years ago. They had adapted for colder climates. Their bodies
were heavier, their hair longer. They had longer tongues for flowers that held their nectar deep inside to
prevent freezing. By nesting they also kept warmer as a group, reducing their losses on cold nights. No
doubt as a nest they were a lot safer from predators. Honey put in it's first appearance with the evolution
of the Bumblebees, which was stored nectar, to enable that during food shortages they had a reserve of
food to depend upon.
Honeybees took this nesting instinct a stage further, developing much larger nests of up to 60,000
bees. These large nests enabled them to keep warm over winter provided they have a stock of food. This
meant the Honeybees needed larger crevices to nest in, trees would provide the perfect answer to this
with cavities created by fallen branches providing a useful home.
If the day time temperature rose too high, Honeybees ran a risk of dehydrating due to the high numbers
of bees in the nest. To combat this foraging bees would collect water droplets, bring them back to the nest
and the house bees would spread it around the hive, fanning their wings to ensure it went as far as
In the depths in winter, they could cluster into a ball with the Queen in the centre. The bees on the
outside of the ball dislocating their wings, vibrating their wing muscles to generate heat. The bees today
are able to maintain a constant temperature in the nest of 35 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
From looking back over the evolution of bees the we can see that all bees have some common
elements they need for a haven.

Shelter from the elements


And most of these are lacking in the environment we have created. In order to make a safe haven for bees
we need to rebalance these elements.


T here are about 20,000 species of bees in the world. However, all of these fall into three groups;
Honey Bees
Bumble Bees
Solitary Bees

The most modern evolution of the bee (appearing around 35 Million years ago),Honey bees are very
social, living in large colonies of around 60,000 bees. They over winter as a colony (which is why they
make honey - it's their winter stores). Naturally they would live in trees or other crevices, however, in an
attempt to domesticate them we have introduced them to hives.
There is generally only one Queen (you can have more in particular situations) who is the egg layer of
the community. She does nothing but lay eggs (around 2,000 a day at her peak), the other bees attend her
every need to ensure she does get involved with actually running the nest.
A worker bee will only live for about 30 - 40 days in summer, literally working herself to death.
During her life time she will take on a number of roles from house cleaners to guard bees and eventually
Along with the workers and Queen, for some of the year there are also male bees (called Drones) who
are only their to mate with virgin Queen Bees. By September, when the mating season is finished they will
be evicted from the hives so the female workers can focus on looking about the babies inside.
In winter they huddle together, the bees on the outside vibrating their wing muscles to keep the nest
warm, with the queen in the middle.
They are the second most studied creature on earth (humans being the first) yet there is still so much
we do not understand about them.

Bumble bees
Like Honeybees, Bumblebees create nests, although only these are much smaller than a Honeybees
nest, usually ranging from 200 - 400 bees at it's peak, these are usually underground en find a nest of them
coming from a hole user a shed), so they tend to be very prone when the summer is full of rain. The Queen
Bumblebee will over winter, but the rest of the colony unfortunately will not survive til winter.
Contrary to a lot of popular belief they do create honey, which the adults feed on. The pollen they
collect is for the baby bees.

Solitary Bees
These form by far the largest collection of bees (about 85% of the species in the world are solitary
bees). Although they do nest individually, the nests tend to be in groups (think of an apartment block for
bees), probably for protection.
As the oldest of the bee species (at about 130 Million years ago), certain strains can look like either
Honey bees or Bumble bees, which leads to a fair bit of misidentification. You may well think you are
looking at a Bumblebee in your garden, but in fact it's a Solitary bee.
From a plants perspective, they are much better at the pollination job as they tend to drop a lot of it,
leading to more pollination of flowers. This fact that has led to large numbers of them being used to
pollinate entire crops of flowers, vegetables and trees.
Given their rather independent nature, they tend to be overlooked when people think about saving the
bees, but let's remember that a Red Mason Solitary Bee does the work of 120 Honeybees, they are
extremely important to the future of our world, and a lot more effort is needed to protect them.
Solitary bees have a sting, but don't tend to use it, there character is generally very placid (unless it's
to other Solitary bees when they can get decidedly territorial). This makes them an excellent partner in
any garden. Because of their wild nature they are incredibly low maintenance, unlike Honeybees who do
take a lot of management, you put up the nest and pretty much let them get on with it until the autumn when
you need to do some basic management. The lack of a hive also means the costs of keeping them is
extremely low.


B ees use nectar and pollen as a food source - from nectar they get their carbohydrates, and from
pollen their protein. Nectar forms the basis of honey which adult bees get their carbohydrates from,
and pollen for bee bread (their form of baby food - the pollen is mixed with honey and enzymes added to
produce the bee bread) which is high in protein content.
All of this they get from plants, both flowers and trees.
It is tempting to focus on summer flowers for bees, however there tends to be a surplus of nectar and
pollen at this time anyway. Bees need food most of the year. So when choosing your plants, please have
plants that flower at all times of the year.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could have a colourful display in your garden all year?
Given the current state of our garden space, it is important that we use as much as possible of what we
do have. If you have decked over your garden space, or maybe paved it for that lovely car parking area,
then containers offer a fantastic opportunity to get bees onboard. A little note here, by containers, I mean
plant containers, hanging baskets or even window boxes - basically any container you can put plants in.
So you've no excuse, whatever your garden situation.
Container planting offers the benefit of not being dependent on the soil type that you have in your
garden. You can just go out and buy a bag of soil form your local garden centre, and hey presto there's
your gardening space. They also they also suffer less from bugs that attack garden plants. The really good
bit - container planting is fast. In keeping with the whole 4 hour ethos of this book, containers definitely
get the thumbs up for being well within the 4 hours time limit. You can have a fully fledged bee feeding
station up and running this very afternoon.
The first step is choosing your plants.
The question I get asked most is what do I need to plant for bees. Choosing the right flowers for your
bee containers is actually quite easy. Go to your local garden centre on a sunny day and just watch for
where the bees go to, those are the plants you want. I know lots of people say pick the ones next to them,
but plants replenish their nectar store about 20 minutes after they've been visited, so by the time you get
home, they'll be full of nectar again.
While you're at the garden centre, you will need some container soil (they usually do it in large bags)
and enough containers to hold all the flowers you've just chosen. If they've got any Lemon Grass, then get
that as well it will come in useful in the next chapter.
Get the lot home. Now the time has come to start creating your little haven.
Put some old broken pots, or a metal window screen in the bottom of your new container over the
drain hole, this will stop the soil flowing out with any surplus water.
Time to check your plants. You need to make sure that the soil is moist, if it isn't it, will collapse then
you take it out of it's pot. In this situation, give it a good watering to moisten up the soil.
Now the soil is moist, take the plant carefully out of its pot by tipping it up, check the root stock. Is it
root bound? Plants are root bound when there is a tight ball of roots, which indicates it's been left in a pot
thats too small for too long. Tease the roots out with your finger tips to ensure they can expand once
they're in their new home.
Pour some soil mix into the bottom of the container, enough to give a depth of about 2 inches. Now put
the plant in the pot, see if it comes up the right level, if it doesn't then just remove or add some more soil.
Place the root ball onto the soil and then start filling in around it to make sure it is well supported.
With your hand or a trowel, start tamping it down, to make sure the soil is firm, this will give the plant the
additional support it needs whilst it settles in.
Although you've added a nice moist plant into a well soiled container, you will need to water it. This
can be tricky, the key is a slow, gentle supply of water, maybe from a slowly running hose or watering
can. Please be patient, it will save you having to come back later to find out your plant hasn't been
watered correctly and is now a nice shade of yellow/brown.
Place some more soil on top, just to bring it up to the top of the container. If you want some extra
brownie points, then why not add some bark chippings or mulch, it helps keep the water in the container,
which means the plant will produce more nectar.
Now wasn't that easy?
If you want a bee friendly planting guide created for your garden, then I can offer that service, you
follow this link.


B ee hives, at least as far as bees are concerned, are a relatively recent development. For many years
(and indeed still in some countries) bees lived in trees. Our first attempts at cultivating bees were
basically logs that were hauled into trees, and then lowered when we wanted to collect the honey.

The first beekeepers weren't keepers at all, in fact they were honey hunters, which is how they're
recorded in the Doomsday book. They would go out looking for nests of bees in trees, climb up to them in
a hope of extracting the honey from the nest. This practice carried on for many years.
Hives have become such a symbol of bees, that it is easy to forget the bees natural origins, and the
importance they play in how bees evolved.
The first bees evolved from solitary hunting wasps. These would nest in tunnels left by beetles in the
ground, laying their eggs, along with some poor creature that would become the food for the wasp larvae
when it emerged.
These tunnels weren't always available, after heavy rains or in particularly dry periods, they would
either collapse or be too hard to work.
However, trees provided a natural solution to this, wood burrowing beetles existed in the first days of
the bees, and these would have made their tunnels in trees, of which there were many. These were a lot
more stable than the mud tunnels and certainly required less work from the bees.
As bees evolved, like most invertebrates, they never really bothered evolving an immune system, they
lack the necessary biological systems that later evolving vertebrates have. Instead, bees would rely on
self cleaning and ensuring that anything that might cause infection was as far away from the nest as
Trees came to play an important part in this system.
When a bud is developing, a sticky residue is excreted by the tree around it to ensure it is free from
infection, propolis. Propolis has long been known to have some very power antibacterial qualities,
indeed we have used it in medicine since the time of the Greeks, if not before. Bees would collect this,
and use it where they felt the nest may be at risk, to plug holes, or disinfect a potential source of disease.
This can even be seen today, where an unsuspecting mouse as tried to hibernate in the relative warmth
of a bee hive, only to end up mummified in propolis.
Propolis has many qualities, usually focusing around it's strong antiseptic nature. Modern day
beekeepers will take it from the hive, roll it into balls and use chew it to cure everything from a sore
throat to bad breath.
But this isn't the only medicinal benefit that trees offer to bees.
After a branch has fallen, it lays on the ground and rots. Most people would have a strong urge to tidy
the branch away, clearing the space. But while this branch is rotting fungi grows on it, mycelium. It
eventually forms a white mould over the branch as it decays. It has recently been shown that bees who are
fed mycelium are generally stronger, and certainly live longer than those that aren't. In fact, the tests in the
US seem to indicate that the bees live up to 33% longer when fed mycelium, and are much more resistant
to diseases.
This may not seem like a big deal, but when you think that the main issue caused by the Varroa mite is
the bees weakening due to a lack of blood (the varroa mite basically sucks the bees blood). Anything that
helps build a bees strength will help counteract the effects of the Varroa mite.
So what can you do to help?
The first thing is to plant trees. I always favour fruit trees as they provide a lot of nectar. In fact it has
been shown that 6 fully flowering fruit trees is equivalent to an acre of wild flower meadows. When a
branch falls, make a log pile with it, or even better make it into chippings and make those into a pile.
If you want to go the extra mile, dig the log pile a couple of inches into the ground. Down there lives
another mite, Stratiolaelaps scimitus, which eats mites like Varroa for breakfast (actually for dinner and
supper as well). Some beekeepers will add Stratiolaelaps scimitus to their hives to pray on any varroa,
but they will always try and return to their native home, which usually means ending up in the bottom of
the hive. Much better to get the bees to travel to the mites, on the log piles or chippings piles, where the
mite can feast as it wants without having to worry about getting home.
Bees have evolved a very strong symbiotic relationship with trees. Unfortunately, over recent years
we have seen a large decrease in the number of trees in our gardens. Go on plant a tree, make the bees


A s with all life, water is essential to a bees continuing existence. But not just to drink. Bees use
water as their own internal air conditioning system for the hive. If it gets too warm in the hive,
bees carry water in, and then fan it across the hive, cooling it down.

The problem with most water supplies is the risk of drowning. Bees are very poor swimmers, in fact for
poor read can't, at all, ever. If you have a pond with loads of lovely water in, but nothing for bees to stand
on, they will drown. Putting stones in a shallow end so its just above the water level helps. Reeds can be
useful as a raft but not ideal.
If you don't have a pond, any type of container filled with stones and then add water up to just below
the top of the stones. Personally, I prefer rain water from my water butt than tap water - however, it's
difficult to prove it benefits the bees any, but it feels right that it should. When choosing stones, I would
seriously suggest you get your stones from an aquatic supplier. These haven't the residue from
manufacturing that can poison bees. Add a few Lemongrass leaves (see, told you they would be useful).
Lemongrass has a smell similar to the homing pheromone bees use when they are swarming, so it will
attract more bees to your watering hole.

My favourite method for keeping bees watered is with moss. Moss looks good (in my humble opinion)
and retains water on its surface from any rain. Because it is only small amounts of water, Bees have no
risk of drowning.

If you already have moss in your garden, then you can encourage it to spread by keeping it damp with a
mister. You can give it an extra helping hand by spraying it with an alkaline mixture of buttermilk (or
powdered milk) and water in a 1:1 ration.
You can also transplant moss using this mixture (about a cup of each), put it in a blender with a handful of
moss you've collected from a similar environment. You can either pour this slurry onto the area you want
the moss to grow or you can paint it on (even creating your own moss artwork). All you need to do now is
keep it moist and the moss will grow.


Y ou don't need a garden to help bees, in fact some of the best work I've seen has been done by
people who haven't got a garden of their own. I have seen people plant thousands of bee friendly
flowers, without having an inch of garden space.

You may well live in a flat or an apartment that doesn't even have a garden. No worries, there are still
things you can do to help save the bees. Instead of thinking about containers as just for patios and decking,
why not create some bee friendly window boxes? See the section on planting for bees to get more
information on creating containers for plants.

Of course, there will come a time when you just won't want to be limited to your own space - bees just
need more flowers. Well, there is a way you can plant acres of flowers, even if your garden amounts to a
space no bigger than a postage stamp.

Let me introduce you to the world of seed bombing.

A seed bomb is quite simply a little pall of fertiliser, seed and clay. You throw it at your target, and leave
it. Nature will do the hard work and help the seeds grow in the next rain fall.

It really is that simple, it's great for kids to do (like there was ever a time when kids turned down an
opportunity to get their hands dirty)
The method is great and simple as well -

Take 2 cups of powered red clay (I would recommend using powdered clay after I had to break up a load
of clay on my first attempt - not fun).
Add 1 cup of fertiliser
Add a small child's handful of wildflower seeds
To deter the birds and mice add a little chilli powder
If you're lucky enough to be doing this with a child, get them to make a wish over it for lots of bee
friendly flowers.
Mix with a little water until it forms a dough like consistency
Form into small balls and put in egg cartons to dry until not sloppy.

Take aim and throw.

It is worth mentioning (well according to my solicitor) that you should only throw the balls at land you
have permission from the land owner to do it on, now I know you won't ignore that advice.


A t any time of year you may see a bee on the ground, pretty much crawling along. This is generally a
bee that's been out collecting nectar and got a little over enthusiastic in it's efforts. It's probably a
long way from home and run out of reserves of food.

You can help this little lady on her way back home - and it's incredibly easy.

She just needs a teaspoon of the thick (2:1) sugar syrup that you can find in the recipes section. She will
then fly back to her nest, where there will be plenty of food reserves for her.

Bees can also become ground bound when they have got wet. The damp means they are unable to use their
wings properly to fly. A nice little trick is to gently blow on the bee to move the water particles off her
wings, a few minutes of this and she will have had enough and fly off.

There are times when the bee can seem comatose, this can be for a number of reasons (extreme hunger
being the main one). Stand her in a large drop of sugar syrup, bee can taste through their feet and the syrup
can provoke them into action.

Cobwebs can create awkward problems for bees, the stick threads can hamper their flight, even after
they've escaped from the web. If you see a bee caught in a web, take stalk of a plant (a supple one is best).
Trace a line through the web around the bee, SLOWLY, you want to help the bee leave with as little web
attached as possible, without panicking it, which will just make the whole situation worse. Now sprinkle
the bee with icing sugar, the sugar will stick to the remains of the web, when the bee cleans the icing sugar
of itself, it will also pull of a large proportion of the remaining web.


O K, before you start running off screaming, let's just clarify what I mean by environmental issues.
The planet is changing, the seasons are changing. For animals that respond to weather patterns (as
bees do) this can be life threatening.

Now helping bees with this does not involve any Sci-fi style gadgetry or a laser-powered-weather-
changing machine.

It does involve understanding how bees are going to react to unseasonal weather conditions (and let's face
it, we've had a few of those). Explaining the whole bee/weather relationship is beyond the scope of the
four hours, and would involve an amount of highly paid therapy work afterwards.

So let's make it easy, I've created the Wild Bees Journal. This quite simply will tell you what you need to
do for bees in response to what the environment is doing in your area. It also explains a bit about the why
and how as well, as well as being packed with bee and flower lore and interesting information (all bee
related of course) all that for just per month.

How do you get it?

You can find it here, just sign up and you'll get it delivered every month to your inbox. Well strictly
speaking you will get a link where you can download it from,


Appendix - Recipes for Bees

Your essential recipes to help bees. You dont need to be exact about the measurements, these are
intended as a rough guide (but dont go mad). These are all easy to make recipes that really do help bees.
No cooking skill required (and I should know).


T his is a base sugar syrup recipe (what a beekeeper may call a 1:1), you can vary the amount of
sugar you use for different times of the year dependent on the bees needs. If you are planning on
making a batch of this, then please add some Thymol (recipe later) this will stop any fermentation within
the sugar syrup while it's being stored.

If you are thinking about heating the syrup to make mixing easier, this can increase it's levels of HMF (
Hydroxymethyl Furefural) to dangerous levels, which isn't good for bees.

(Makes about 3 cups of sugar syrup)

1 Small bag of white granulated sugar (454g / 1lb) (for 2:1 use 2 bags of sugar)
2 cups of water

I put in a blender for 4 minutes, this doesn't warm the mixture too much and makes a nice smooth mixture.

In the early to mid summer, when there is new brood around I use a 2:1 mixture, but in most cases it won't


T hymol is used to prevent fermentation of sugar syrup when it is stored for any length of time (like
over winter), as fermented sugar syrup will give bees dysentery (which isn't pleasant).

Be really careful with Thymol crystals, read everything on the pack when you get it and TAKE
HEED, these things are NOT PLEASANT if mishandled.

30g Thymol Crystals

5 ml isopropyl (surgical) alcohol
1 tsp Lecithin granules (available online or from health food shops)

Put the thymol crystals placed in glass jar,

add isopropyl alcohol to the crystals,
place jar into a water bath of boiling water to speed up the dissolving process.

In another jar pour in 140 ml of boiling water and add lecithin granules,
stir well, and place this jar into a water bath of boiling water.
Stir frequently until most of the lecithin granules have dissolved (this will take about 10 minutes)
simply add the dissolved thymol to this mix, and shake well, will look just like a jar of milk.

For the previous sugar syrup recipe you will need just a drop of thymol to keep it from fermenting. If you
want to make larger batches of sugar syrup, then it's 1 tsp per gallon (20 cups).


D uring the summer months, when the baby bees (brood) are at their highest numbers, bees need
pollen to feed them. If there is a shortage of nectar at this time, it can cause the babies to starve.
This is a recipe for a dried pollen substitute, it isn't any near as good as pollen, but at times of need, bees
will take it.

You can put this is in a bird feeder, and the bees will feed there.

4 cups soy flour (or pea flour)

1 cup brewers yeast
1.5 cups non-fat dry milk (not instant)
1 tsp of vitamin C

Mix it all together and it will make a dry powder that bees will take as a pollen substitute.


T his is an additive for all bee food types, I typically add it to any sugar syrup to give bees that added
buzz. In the hive, the bees I have fed this to certainly seem to be healthier.

1 Litre water
2.5 lbs white granulated sugar
1/8 tsp lecithin crystals
1 tsp spearmint oil
1 tsp lemongrass oil
1 tsp tea tree oil
1 tsp winter green (checkerberry) oil

Heat water gently, mix in all other ingredients and blend for 4 minutes (I use a hand blender)

You will only need 1 teaspoon per litre of water/sugar syrup or you can mix into pollen patties.

For 20 years Damian Appleby worked in the corporate services sector, before live changing events persuaded him to go and get proper job.
Since that time he has spent every day being taught proper stuff by bees.
He is now the head beekeeper and bee nerd at Turton Tower in Lancashire, England. He runs regular workshops at historic houses,
helping people discover the magic of bees and how they can help save them. He has earned a reputation as a lively and enthusiastic presenter
who really spreads his passion for bees far and wide. He also does talks about bees and has a travelling hive which he takes to schools so
children can reconnect with bees, and of course taste a bit of honey.
A passionate advocate of Solitary Bees, he runs training courses on Solitary Bee husbandry, to ensure the safety of bees around humans.
He recently discovered his IPhone had a camera on it, and is now a regular on Instagram, where he's discovered he can bully lots more
people into helping bees. No doubt Instagram will pick up on this soon enough and kindly ask him to desist.
When he's bored he does a bit of writing and rescues dogs, just to avoid the risk of getting lazy.