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Now that it’s summertime and everything is blooming, you might see some striped insects buzzing around your garden. But while yellowjackets may not be a welcome sight, honey bees should be. That’s because their presence is actually essential for our own survival.
Did you know that we can thank bees for one out of every three bites of food we consume? Without them, we’d lose our best-loved crops — and our own lives would be in danger. That possibility isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem, either.
These little guys are becoming more and more scarce with each passing year. But by making a pledge right now to help the bees, we can ensure all species will thrive.
But how can we do that? It sounds like an enormous task. How can one person possibly make a difference? You might be surprised to learn that making some small adjustments in your own backyard and in the way you shop can do a lot of good. Here are some of our favorite ways to promote healthy bee activity in your area.
Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden
Bees aren’t particularly discriminatory when it comes to pollination. In fact, they can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day! But there are specific plant species that can attract bees. Focus on native species (including wildflowers and clover), flowering herbs (like lavender and sage), sunflowers, bachelor’s buttons, bee balm, black-eyed susans, coneflower, daisies, calendula, marigolds, and more.
Fruit trees and vegetable gardens are attractive to bees, too. Opt for single flower tops, as they’re easier for bees to pollinate. Grouping plantings by color can allow bees to find their favorites more quickly. They also seem to love purple and blue flowers best!
Don’t Use Insecticides
Pesticides and insecticides are effective for keeping unwanted pests out, but they can have a lot of unintended consequences. Even low doses of these toxins will kill bees and poison entire colonies. They also aren’t really great for your plants in the long run.
Biodegradable pesticides might seem like a welcome alternative, but these can actually be just as harmful to both humans and animals. You’ll be much better off if you use natural pesticides such as neem oil, epsom salt, vinegar, homemade sprays, or even ladybugs and praying mantises. Your garden and the bees will thank you for making the switch.
Provide Food, Water, and Shelter
Sometimes, bees can use a little bit of help when times get tough. Tired bees may have trouble flying and need a little pick-me-up. You can revive this tuckered-out bee by mixing together two tablespoons of white granulated sugar and one teaspoon of water and leaving it on a plate, in a spoon, or in a shallow container where bees can easily access it.
You can also create a shallow water source for them when they need some H2O. Fill a flat container with pebbles, twigs, and some water or use a sloped-walled bird bath for bees to come take a drink and rest for a minute. Finally, create a spot where bees can take shelter in case of inclement weather.
Use untreated wood, creatively place potted plants, or designate a hedge for bees to go when they need temporary refuge. If you can leave a wilder spot in your garden for them, they’ll be happy to stay out of your way.
Support Local Farms and Beekeepers
If you don’t have your own garden space or simply want to do more to support bee activity throughout your community, you can do your part by supporting beekeepers and organic farms in your area. Remember: money talks.
By purchasing local honey and produce that’s grown without the use of harmful pesticides, you’ll be able to further promote these practices and ensure healthy bee populations in your region. Plus, your family will benefit from higher-quality fruits and veggies and may even alleviate seasonal allergies thanks to local honey.
Bringing back bee populations might seem like a colossal undertaking. But the truth is, if everyone adopts these easy practices that help the bees, these creatures can make a comeback. “Bee” sure to tell your friends and family about how important it is that they support local bee populations, too!
Find out more about how to support your local bee population at GloryBee.com.