Perhaps you’re not aware yet, bee populations are drastically declining. This is a huge problem because bees do lots of the pollination around the world. While pollinating is simply transferring pollen from one flower to another flower, it does much more. This is the act that fertilizes the plant allowing it to grow food. The immediate thought that the food on our tables isn’t always from a plant is true, but we have to remember that we are part of the larger food chain, and humanity is at the top.
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
What can we do now to help the bees… and ourselves? There’s a number of things.
1. Reconsider your yard and the landscaping.
Grass is nice, but flowering plants provide a food source for the bees. Flower beds can be arranged to showcase your home and will add some colour. Bees love colour, they especially love blue, purple, violet, white and yellow.
2. Plan your flowers.
Generally speaking, the flowering plants highest in nectar and pollen are the best choice for bees. Also to keep the bees nearby, a variety of plants that bloom with the changing seasons will help. The following list of flowers are broken down by the season they bloom in.
Blueberry, Common yarrow, Cotoneaster, Crabapple, Cranberry, Crocus, Foxglove, Heliotrope, Hazelnut, Heather, Pale Purple Coneflower, Primrose, Willow
Blackberry, Black-eyed Susan, Blue Giant Hyssop, Cat mint, Catnip, Chives, Dahlia, Horsemint, Hyssop, Lavender, Sunflower, Purple Coneflower, Raspberry, Yarrow
Late Summer or Fall:
Asters, Beggar’s tricks, Borage, Coneflower, Cornflower, Cosmos, Goldenrod, Joe-Pye Weeds, Pumpkin, Sedum, Squash
3. Avoid Pesticides and Herbicides.
The things that will kill the unwanted bugs also kill the bees and desirable insects. Using products that are natural will give your bees a chance. As an added benefit it will promote the insects that prey on the nuisance bugs.
4. Build a Bee Hotel.
Any old block of untreated wood can become a Bee Hotel. Using a 5/16 drill bit make a bunch of holes in the side about six inches (15.75 cm) deep. This is about the size of an HB pencil. Put your hotel in a spot where it won’t get rained on, and in the sun so it warms up. You could also paint it a bright colour to attract the bees attention. If the hotel is the same colour as their favourite flowers they will come (Blue, purple, violet, white and yellow are their favourites).
5. Make a bee bath
This seems really silly, but bees need to drink water too. They need a place to perch, and the water has to be close enough for them to reach. Place some small rocks in a shallow bowl or dish, fill the dish with water so that the rocks are partially covered. The bees will then have a place to land and drink.
- The Honeybee Conservancy: Plant a bee garden
- Why We Need Bees: Nature’s Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables
- David Suzuki: Create a bee-friendly garden
Featured Image Credit: andy muir