Dominique Persoone is not only a top entrepreneur who is putting together his own newspaper this week, he also has a big heart for nature. Not least for the secondary population. That is why he has been the godfather of Biens Uge for several years. The driving force behind Bart Vandepoele gives us ten tips to turn your own garden into a bee restaurant.
Bees are almost the most important insects on our planet, but unfortunately they find it increasingly difficult to find their place in our densely populated world. “I feel that myself,” says Bart Vandepoele (50) from Bredenaar.
“I started as a beekeeper when I was seventeen, and then it was relatively easy: You let the bees do their work, and at the end of the trip you could taste their delicious honey. Now it is no longer so obvious.”
Bart sees several reasons for this development. “Firstly, there is less food for bees in our nature. There are fewer dandelions in the meadows, the surface dominates everywhere and almost all of our country is densely built up.”
“We have also started to live cleaner and cleaner. Abandoned areas are maintained… And parasites appear in the world of bees. Just think of the Asian hornet and the Varroa mite, a spider from Asia that lays its eggs between the bee larvae, giving them fewer opportunities.”
Empty supermarkets without bees
Wild bees are losing space to nest again, says Bart. “Again through the sidewalk. They mainly make their nest underground, but if it is no longer available…”
We should also be concerned about the plight of bees. “75 percent of all food on our planet comes from bees. Take that away and our supermarkets will be eerily empty. That’s why it’s more than necessary to make a collective effort. Because we can’t live without bees. It’s that simple .”
Ten tips to make your own garden bee-friendly
1. Provide water in the garden
“A pond, pool or just a plate with some water. Make sure bees can always drink. Certainly in times of long drought, like last summer, this is not an unnecessary luxury. And: You are also doing many other animals a favor, because they will also join us.”
2. Clover islands in your lawn
“Just let a patch of grass grow. After a little patience, you will have a paradise for the bees, an oasis full of food. And it is also beautiful to look at.”
3. Avoid toxins around your home
“Products such as spears, which we like to use to keep our terrace clean, are silent killers of bees. Leave them alone, because if bees consume them, they will inevitably return to our food chain as well. Better choose an organic alternative. They are available in almost all garden stores.”
4. You can also make a difference in an apartment
“No garden? You can also help the bees on the terrace of your apartment. Place a small herb container with chives, thyme… Herbs that bees love. And dare to let them bloom. A feast for our eyes and the bee’s stomach.”
5. Place a facade garden
“Brighten up your city home by breaking out a tile in the footpath and sticking a creeper in the ground. Wisteria, ivy, Passiflora… You’ll soon see the bees light up. It also brightens up your facade and provides extra cooling on very hot days .”
6. Take care of the three layers
“An ideal bee-friendly garden consists of the so-called three layers. A herb layer with, for example, grass and flowers, shrubs and flowering trees. Think of fruit trees. This way you ensure that bees can feast in your garden from March to November.”
“Win-win, because when the bees have feasted on the flowers, you get delicious fruits like raspberries and all kinds of berries.”
8. Plant a willow in your garden
“When you think of willow trees, you always think of the large landscape, but there are also smaller willow trees that you can perfectly give space to in your own garden. They provide fresh pollen for honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. There they get food for the bee larvae.”
9. Let a corner go wild
“Don’t keep your garden equally tight and trimmed everywhere. Let nature do its work. Before you know it, you will see numerous flowers and plants sprouting from the ground. Actions like Maybe don’t hitLeaving your lawn untouched for a month is also welcome. But you can apply that mentality to part of your garden all year round. The bees will thank you.”
10. Install an insect hotel
“Every house should have an insect hotel. It is the maternity hospital of solitary bees. Make sure that the wooden house hangs well in the sun and does not have to withstand rain. A thread for the insect hotel to keep birds at a safe distance, but the picture is complete.”
The Week of the Bee is a campaign of the Flemish Government in the Ministry of the Environment and takes place in the first week of June, followed by the tenth edition next year. Schools can request a free packthrough this link.
All information regarding www.weekvandebij.be.