Ways You Can Help Save the Bees
Honey bees are one of the most popular types of insects. Almost everyone can recognize the honey bee. In recent years, all of our bees have been experiencing problems. Unhealthy bees in hives, a drop in native bee populations. What is happening and is it too late to save the bees?
We see an increase in public awareness of the difficulty all bees are facing. Honey bees may be getting most of the press but they are not the only ones in peril. We need all of our pollinators.
Beekeeping Popularity on the Rise
The increased attention on bees has caused a resurgence in beekeeping. Many people like the idea of having a beehive of their very own.
There are several reasons to keep bees. Keeping honey bees to produce honey is an appealing idea. Bee hives can also be used to increase pollination and crop yield in your garden.
And lets face it, becoming a beekeeper is just so cool.
I should warn you that beekeeping is a lot of hard work. Do you only want bees to save money on buying honey? If so, you will be better off buying honey from a local beekeeper.
A bee hive on your property can aid in pollination of your garden and that of your neighbors. A hive or 2 may be worth the work and investment when it helps you produce more vegetables or fruits.
Having a beekeeper in the neighborhood is a great learning experience for everyone nearby. Yes, bees do sting but there are ways to reduce any stinging episodes.
When, non beekeepers see the hard work involved they often develop a better understanding of bees.
As you learn more about bees, you will make better choices when using pesticides and other chemicals. And, you can educate family and friends on ways they can help the bees too!
A Bee House Can Help Solitary Bees
Honey bees are not the only bees out there. Bumble bees, mason bees and other types of flying insects are beneficial. Some insects want to make their own homes in trees or in the ground.
But others seem to appreciate our effort to aid them in their search. One of the most charming ways to help save the bees is to build a bee house! This can be something purchased from an online retailer.
Or, you can create a bee house of your own. Use a scrap of untreated lumber and drill some 5/16 ths of an inch holes in it. Now, hang it in a tree or other out of the way location.
If you want to look even more natural, do the same to a small piece of log or tree branch. The National Wildlife Federation has more tips on building a bee house.
Providing Clean Water for Bees
Provide a drinking station for honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators. This is a very easy way to help.
Even though bees do an excellent job of finding natural water sources, they may have trouble during the dry times of the year.
A shallow bird bath with pebbles along the edges is good. You can make your own small water source – but a small one needs daily filling. Check out my DIY Bee Waterer for your garden.
A bit larger: a water fountain adds beauty to your backyard and can provide clean water for bees.
Create a Water Feature to Help Save Bees
Perhaps you can go all out and build a small water garden complete with goldfish and live plants. This is what I did in my backyard.
My water gardens were built years ago and I was not thinking of helping bees. But once I had beehives, the honey bees found the water source quickly.
You too can enjoy the beauty and serenity of flowing water and plants. I have 3 water gardens and I really enjoy the lilies and other blooming plants. My honey bees visit for clean cool water and some occasional nectar or pollen from my blooming plants.
Tips for Building a Water Source for Bees
- water source should be large enough to not require daily fills
- prepare a shallow section for bees to safely drink
- consider adding a few small fish to balance the ecosystem
- plants also provide landing spots, cover and sometime food for bees
Food Sources to Help Bees
Food for bees comes in the form of nectar and pollen. If you only have room for a few pots of blooming flowers that bees love, that helps.
A larger garden can contain a wider variety of plant types. Add small trees that bloom and produce nectar to your backyard.
Another excellent way to help save bees by providing nutritional diversity. It is important to remember that not all flowering plants provide bee food. And, having different varieties is a good idea as well.
Leave the Weeds, Feed the Bees
I understand that we Americans have a love affair with grassy lawns. That’s okay. But if you can leave a few natural areas (even if it is around the edges) that can help.
This is especially true in the Spring when plants are first emerging. Honey bees and other insects are producing young and need pollen. Waiting a few weeks to manicure your lawn provides food for growing colonies.
You don’t have to be a beekeeper to find ways to help bees. Of course, its cool if you want to keep bees. But there are other ways to help our pollinators.
By providing nesting sites, clean water, food and chemical free lawns. you can be a part of the solution.
Show some bee love…