Bees are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem. Here are a few things you can do to support bees in your own yard and garden…
The plight of the honeybee is not just a concern for environmentalists. Along with most species of wild bees, honeybees are responsible for pollinating most of our food crops. Without bees, there would be widespread famine due to lack of food – yet we rarely pay much attention to this important pollinator!
In recent years, there has been an alarming decline in bee populations throughout the world. This is likely due in part to the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides on crops that bees pollinate. Creating a safe and chemical-free environment for bees may be an important key to our future survival.
Bees do collect pollen and nectar from wildflowers, of course, but one great way that you can support bees in your own yard is by planting bee-friendly plants in your yard and garden (and of course, avoiding the use of chemicals). As an added bonus, these plants usually produce beautiful flowers to decorate your yard!
Here are 4 ways that you can do your part to support bees at home – as suggested by UrbanFarm.org:
Know what plants bees like the most – and what they don’t
Not all flowering plants are beneficial to bees. Some, like oleander, simply don’t provide nectar or pollen that bees like. Long, tubular flowers that have pollen and nectar are often inaccessible to bees, but are good for hummingbirds who have long tongues and beaks, Also, flowers with dense petals like double and ruffled flowers do not allow bees to get to the pollen and nectar. Bees really love open flowers with lots of stamens. Think of daisies, sunflowers, and bottle brush shaped flowers.
Let your vegetables and herbs go to seed
…Lavender, rosemary, marjoram, mint, and virtually every other herb will call bees to your garden in abundance. So plant, eat, and let a few of them go to seed when the season is over.
Plant in groups
Bees don’t travel from one kind of flower to the next when seeking food. They generally stay with one kind of flower to collect food and then return to the hive. So if you have flowers planted in groups of 3 or more, bees are more likely to find that more appealing than a garden full of 20 different plants, with one plant each.
Finally…Don’t spray pesticides on flowering plants, whether it is organic or not.
If you do need to spray an organic pesticide for some reason, do it in the evening when bees are done foraging for the day. Also, be sure to not contaminate water sources. Everything a bee touches during the day while out foraging, comes back to the hive and is shared with all. It becomes food for the brood as well as adults… Also, don’t plant anything that has been treated with neonicotinoids as they have been found to cause neural damage to colonies.
For a few more ways to support bees at home, try these tips as well.