Bees are essential in the production of so many of our foods which depend on bees for pollination. As bee population declines, prices of many foods are going to rise and their availability is going to drop, which makes a green lifestyle more difficult for all of us!
“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.”
― Albert Einstein
How can you help the bees? If everyone were able to take these small steps it could make a big difference to the struggling bee population:
1. Plant a garden that’s bee hospitable.
• Plant a variety of flowers that bloom from early spring to late fall. Some types of bees are more active at different times of year, so make sure your garden always has something to offer!
• Flowers with single petal blossoms are more accessible to bees than flowers with double petals so focus on the singles.
• Blue, purple, and yellow flowers are most appealing to bees.
• Plant wildflowers, especially ones that are native to your area. This will help support the bees in your area that evolved to visit those species of flower.
• Be more weed-friendly. Flowering weeds are native flowers too! Dandelions especially are a great early food source for bees. If you let a corner of your yard freely grow dandelions or clover you’ll have a lot of happy bees.
• Use organic fertilizer and steer clear of chemical pesticides. The last thing you want to do is poison your bees, of course.
2. Make a nest habitat.
A neat and pristine yard leaves no place for bees to make a happy nest. If you leave a brush pile near your bee garden, bees will have a place to nest near a convenient food source. There are also good tutorials available online for making bee posts, bee hotels and other homes for solitary bees. How fun would that be for the family?
3. Check out your local farmer’s market.
Local made honey is almost always of a better quality than store bought honey. Some store bought honey is mostly corn syrup. And if you’ve moved to a new area, eating local honey can help prevent you from developing new pollen allergies. By buying local you not only get a better product, you support the bee population in your area. It’s good for everyone!
4. If you’re feeling adventurous…
Try beekeeping yourself! Obviously this isn’t going to be for everyone, or even most people. However, small scale beekeeping can support your local bee population, give you a new source of income, and be a very unique hobby.
Though you might be a little shy of bees at first, it helps to realize how beneficial bees are to humans, animals, and the environment, and they are not typically aggressive. As kids, I’m sure we got stung because we were barefoot and didn’t watch where we were going, and most adults get stung because they panic and swat.
Bees just want to live their lives, and as they do, they help us grow our crops. Do your part to help the bees!