Though they do sting when threatened, these little gals keep mostly to themselves and are more interested in the flowers and plants in your yard than they are in you. Unfortunately, they are dying off at a rapid rate due to pesticide use, loss of habitat, and disease, and unless we do something to help, our crops may suffer.
The good news is that there are several easy ways you can help the bees. From starting a bee garden to give them plenty of food to supporting local beekeepers, you can ensure that the bees in your community are well taken care of.
Read on for the best ways to get started.
Plant the Flowers Bees Love
Do some research on flowers and plants to find out what will work best in the climate where you live. Bees love variety and are attracted to many different types of flower, although they especially love having a cluster of the same type of plant for ease of feeding. If you’re interested in planting fruits and veggies, keep in mind that bees love these, as well, and you can mix some types in with the shrubs and flowers in your front yard if you don’t have room for a full garden.
Think about Their Year-Round Needs
Bees stick around for much of the year, so it’s important to remember that they’ll need to find food and water even when the weather turns cooler. Look for plants that will bloom well into fall and consider placing some evergreens--shrubs or trees that stay green year-round, such as fir and pine--along the borders of your property. Bees love to build nests here.
You can also set out a small bowl of water filled with rocks so that the bees can stop and get a drink without fear of drowning. The rocks give them a safe place to land and keep their balance. Don’t forget to change the water each day.
Spread the Word
Many people are unaware of the plight that bees face, so consider holding a fundraiser to benefit local farmers or a nature conservancy and spread the word about how to help. You can get local businesses involved and make it a community effort, or simply talk to friends and family about the best ways to keep the bees safe and happy.
Support Local Beekeepers
Head to your local farmer’s market and check out what they have to offer; there, you’ll find a huge selection of locally-grown produce and honey. Buying from the people who tend to the bees in your community will support them and help these creatures thrive year-round. You can also ask if they have a sponsorship program, which allows you to donate a certain amount in exchange for honey and other goodies from the farm.
Remember that the bees aren’t out to get you; leave them alone and they’ll do the same for you. Teach your children what to do if they come into contact with a bee or its hive, and share the information with friends and family to keep these creatures safe in your neighborhood.
Author: Christy Erickson (SavingOurBees.org)