Bees wasps and ants survey
Help bees in your garden and look out for the Tawny mining bee
Records of aculeate Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) in Essex are maintained by the County Recorder Peter Harvey.
Gardens can offer good habitat for a number of insects and spiders. Important features to promote include a range of nectar and pollen resources suitable for different species and a range of relatively undisturbed corners in the garden where some dead wood, leaf litter and dead stems can be left. Try not to be too tidy! Earth banks, fences and walls with old mortar in the sun are also important nesting habitat for bees and wasps. Various insects and spiders will also use them to warm up early in the year and in the early morning.
Only six bumblebees remain widespread in Britain, and these are nowadays often more abundant in gardens than in the modern countryside. They can successfully use flowers as nectar and pollen resources in gardens, and are far more important as pollinators of fruit trees and many other flowers than honeybees. However even these common bumblebees tend to collect pollen from a rather restricted range of plants, and you can help them by providing the right kind of flower resources. As well as fruit trees in spring and early summer such as Malus (apples), Prunus (cherries, plums, greengage) and Ribes (currants), any flowers in the pea and labiate families are good, and some useful plants to grow include Ajuga, Betonica officinalis, Erica, Eryngium, Buddleia, Knautia, Lathyrus, Lythrum, Salvia, Stachys, Teucrium, etc. Make sure they are single varieties, not double.
Help the insects to help you!