Bees play a vital role in our ecosystem and economy. A third of what we eat comes from the pollination of plants and trees including honey, thanks to honey bees.
A study carried out by the Bee Informed Partnership shows a drastic 37.7% decrease of the US bee colonies population within the months of October 2018 to April 2019.
While there are over 4,000 species of honey bees in the US alone, their declining numbers poses a threat. However, we can take action and do something to help change that.
Below are 6 ways that you can help your local bee population thrive.
1. Plant the Right Kind of Flowers
With some gardening skills, you can encourage bees to pollinate by planting naturally bee-friendly flowers. Bear in mind that bees are attracted to certain things like:
- Open petals: ease of access for bees to land.
- Color: blue, yellow, and purple are most appealing. Red flowers are no go-zone.
The right flowers include cape daisies, sunflowers, lavender, and lilacs. These are easy to plant and are commonly found among household gardens.
2. Herbs and Vegetables
Not only can you support local bee population with your garden, but you'll also enjoy growing herbs and vegetables. Bees can pollinate the right type of herbs, these include:
- Oregano, sage, clover, mints, salvia, thyme, hyssop, rosemary, bee balm, valerian, anise, chives, and lemon balm.
Bee-friendly vegetables and fruits you can plant include;
- Onions,carrots,apples,turnips,courgettes,apricots,melons,raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries,blueberries,avocados,peaches,plums and pears.
Just like plants, provide a shallow source of water for bees to indulge in, planting herbs in pots by the windowsill will attract bees regardless. So even if the space for a garden is limited, you can still play a part in populating bees.
3. Plant with the Seasons
Bees thrive better in stable conditions where food is readily available. Seasons from spring through fall require an adequate food source for bees to boost productivity.
When possible, ensure to begin planting soon to ensure ahead start during the busy demand.
4. Limit the Use of Pesticide
The use of chemical pesticides will ward off and affect the bee's ability to pollinate if not harm them. By planting bee-friendly plants, you will attract fewer pests, thus reducing the need for pesticides.
However, if the pesticide is to be used, ensure to spray on regions away from areas bees will roam like the petal, stamen, stigma, style and sepal part of a flower.
Seek alternatives such as organic-based pesticides. This will get rid of pests and not interfere with bees.
5. Creating a Bee-Friendly Landscape
In many city landscapes, buildings, roads, parking lots and other infrastructure occupy a vast majority of the terrain with the minority being lakes, ponds, parks, and gardens.
This is merely not enough to facilitate a healthy breeding ground for bees, therefore, displacing them. Nevertheless, you can help out too by providing a bee-friendly landscape.
Why Should You Create a Bee-Friendly Landscape?
Bee-friendly landscapes provide a safe haven for bees to breed, forage, and gather. This promotes the creation of a colony, therefore, increasing the overall bee population.
With time, your garden will be buzzing with activity; thus you should consider landscaping to cater for the bees.
You can purchase inexpensive bee blocks in various home depot stores or get a carpenter to build one for you.
- You might consider building one yourself, which is perfectly fine. Make sure to consider the maximum load. Even though a single bee doesn't weigh much, several hundred or thousands certainly will.
- A great bee habitat is sturdy, can withstand outdoor conditions like rain and a strong breeze.
- Place your new-found bee shelter in a warm cozy place outdoors. Avoid direct sunlight as the temperatures inside the hive will harm the bees.
Benefits of a Bee-Friendly Landscape
- Promotes bee breeding and colony development
- Provides shelter
- Supports local bees
- Pollination of fruits, vegetables, and flowers in your garden
- Spreads awareness of the fleeting bee population.
6. Supporting Local Bee-Keepers in the Region
You can help out just as much by purchasing honey from local beekeepers. In the commercial world, the demand for honey from consumers causes most companies to import honey or seek synthetic ways to produce it to meet these demands.
Most of the honey found in chain outlets and stores is processed either pasteurized, filtered or flash heated. Natural raw honey provides a variety of benefits which include:
- Contains all the nutrients for good health such as vitamin A, C, D, E, and B-complex vitamins: niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and more.
- Thicker texture and flavor
- Raw honey contains useful enzymes such as amylase which aids in the digestion of starches in the body.
- Fresh smelling aroma
By supporting beekeepers, you promote the supply of natural honey into the market while funding the development of more bee-friendly hives thus keeping both bees and beekeepers happy.
DID YOU KNOW? In ancient China, honey was discovered to heal wounds with its antibacterial properties? It is also used as an energy supplement as well as a natural remedy for sore throats and coughs.