Gear's green thumb gardening tips

Air bee and bee: Building a bee hotel in the backyard is just one of the great ways people can look after the native bee population in their area. Photo: Supplied.
Air bee and bee: Building a bee hotel in the backyard is just one of the great ways people can look after the native bee population in their area. Photo: Supplied.

The European Honey Bee was introduced to Australia almost 200 years ago to help pollinate crops.

Today commercial beekeepers continue to help with crop pollination while producing some of the best honey in the world.

I recently became a registered beekeeper after capturing a small swarm of bees that were setting up home in the Telstra box in my front garden.

If I hadn't acted quickly the bees were destined to be treated like a pest and eradicated.

I will need to look after them well, as winter approaches, as Australia has had a bad honey season and many colonies are currently living with little nectar flow.

In Western Australia, we also have many known species of native bees.

I have seen blue banded and leaf cutter bees in my garden.

Native bees are important for pollination for the native flora and some only exist in the South West.

Our unique ecosystem would not be the same without them.

So, while every garden isn't able to support a Honey bee hive, there is plenty that every home can do to help support our native bees.

Plant a native garden

Attract bees to your garden with a native garden that flowers all year around. Not only will your garden look amazing but it saves water too.

Try bottle brush, wattle or lilli pilli.

You can visit the Friends of Kings Park website for a large collection of gardening information. Go to www.friendsofkingspark.com.au

Build a bee hotel

Some Native bees love a good bee hotel. With native bushland being cleared more and more, bees may find it difficult to find suitable places to nest. Build a bee hotel drilling holes into a log or cutting lengths of bamboo and trying them together with pine cones and gum nuts. YouTube how to make one or visit www.abc.net.au/gar dening/factsheets/bee-ho tel/9440586

Give them a drink

Leave a few saucers of water around the garden that bees can access throughout the day. Check them every now and then to make sure that they are clean and haven't tipped over.

Avoid chemical pesticides

Chemical pesticides kill our bees. While bee-friendly pesticides are being developed its better to stay clear of them in the garden. Looks for alternative ways to get rid of unwanted insects.

For example Epsom salt is completely safe, non-toxic, and bee-friendly. In addition to being a magnesium-rich fertilizer for tomato and pepper plants, Epsom salts are also an effective way of keeping slimy critters like slugs and snails off your plants. Simply sprinkle salt around the base of affected plants.