Bees are the world’s most important pollinator. They’re vital to the survival of agriculture, gardens, and therefore humans. One-third of the food we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees. Think about planting a bee garden by creating a flower-rich habitat on your patio or back porch. The size of the garden does not matter to the bees, they focus on the flowers.
Currently, we’re in a bee crisis. Honey bees are dying in increasingly large amounts. As gardeners, we reap the rewards of having healthy bees around.
If humans are going to be involved, we’ve got to be mindful of what we’re creating.Mike Schmaeling, head beekeeper at the Rodale Institute
We won’t change the world overnight, but we can each do our part to create long-lasting differences. Here are several ways you can help save the bees as a small-time grower.
1. Beware the Sprays
Many of the common pesticides and sprays are toxic. If a bee gets a whiff of Round-up, for instance, it’ll die even before it gets back to its hive. The pesticides attack the bee’s nervous central system and damage its memory.
These toxic chemicals are a suspected cause of colony collapse disorder and are also harmful to humans’ health.
Best case scenario? Use no sprays at all. If this isn’t possible, spray in the evenings and use non-toxic chemicals to avoid harming the bees.
2. Save the Bees You Find
You might find honey bees living in a tree or an outdoor corner of your house as you make your watering rounds. If you do, don’t spray them! With bees already dying in such great numbers, there’s no need to kill more.
Find a local beekeeper and call them — they’d love nothing more than the come and take those bees.
3. Plant Plants Bees Love
When you’re planting your garden, find out what bees in your area like and add them to your planting list. There are so many beautiful, garden-enhancing options that you and the bees will be happy with.
Honey Bees love marigolds, pansies, peony, bee balm, and lavender. A few more favorites options that bees love (and so do we) rosemary, sage, mint, verbena, basil, and oregano. Plant a container garden of fresh herbs and instead of harvesting all of the herbs, let one of the plants flower. Your bees will love it!
Bees will come buzzing once they discover something they like in bloom. Container gardens filled with nectar and pollen-rich plants do make a difference so get your buzz on and know you are growing good things.
To find out more information on the bees and how we can do our part check out our interview with Mike Schmaeling Head of Bee Conservatory at The Rodale Institute.