Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about the bee crisis, but you may not know why you should care. Bee die off doesn’t just mean less honey; other types of bees and pollinators are essential to our ecosystem and food supply.
Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. (source: Pollinator.org)
The good news is there are a number of ways each and every one of us can help protect the bees and other pollinating insects!
This is a biggie. Doing all the other things below won’t make much difference if you’re simultaneously using chemicals which kill the bees you’re trying to attract. Even some organic pesticides contain ingredients harmful to bees so it’s important to read labels and do research on any product you might want to use. If you do use them, use targeted pesticides and don’t apply them to open blossoms or when bees and pollinators are present (source: Gardeners.com).
Bees and other pollinators need food in the form of nectar and pollen in order to survive. Don’t have a garden? A small pot or window box works too! Ideally you want to plant varieties that bloom at different times so there is a steady food supply throughout the season. If you want to pull double duty and plant edible plants for yourself that are also great for pollinators, check out this guide.
Flowers that Bees Love: (source: Gardener’s Supply)
- Agastache (anise hyssop)
- Asclepias (butterfly weed)
- Echinacea (coneflower)
- Geranium (cranesbill)
- Monarda (bee balm)
- Papaver (poppies)
- Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)
- Trifolium (clover)
Planting any flowers is beneficial but even better is planting native plants and flowers to serve as food for the native pollinators in your region. Pollinator.org offers awesome guides based on your region. If you’re not sure what region you’re in you can type in your zip code and it will tell you! Where I live in central Illinois is actually the Eastern Broadleaf Forest.
So this might be obvious to everyone else, but it never really occurred to me that I should provide water for bees. Keep a shallow container of clean water available with rocks or twigs for them to land on. (source: Honey Bee Conservancy)
A lot of the natural habitats pollinators would normally seek shelter in are gone, so it’s important for us to provide them with protection from predators and severe weather.
This super simple bee shelter was demonstrated at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival. They were actually handing out the pre-made bundles of bamboo too. Bamboo stalks can be purchased in the garden department at home improvement stores and cut up to make your own. Slide the bundle into a piece of PVC pipe and you’ve got a cheap DIY bee shelter, albeit not the prettiest.
This DIY Bee House from Instructables requires a bit more skill but offers a lot more style.
If you want a stylish bee habitat but aren’t very handy, this Insect Hotel available on Amazon offers shelter to a number of beneficial insects including bees.
What are you doing to Save the Bees?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”