Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem, and as the years go by, their numbers are declining. The idea of a world without bees is alarming since they are crucial for pollinating 90% of our wild plants and about 30% of our food crops.
At Browning’s Honey, we love bees and enjoy considering how each of us can make small contributions that add up to a significant effect on pollinators.
As we celebrate the National Honey Month, learn how to support the bees with these simple steps.
Refrain From Using Pesticides
This seems like a pretty obvious approach for growers to aid bees, isn’t it? It’s not always that simple, of course. Sometimes you have to come up with a solution to deal with a cabbage worm or Japanese beetle infestation.
Choose plants from local nurseries that don’t treat seeds with systemic pesticides, like neonicotinoids, and address these problems where and when they occur rather than spraying broad-spectrum pesticides “just in case.” These insecticides can’t be rinsed off because they are present throughout the entire plant. By targeting the central nervous system, they eliminate all insects. You should always avoid plants treated with systemic insecticides because several states require them to be labeled as such.
It is crucial that these blooms are not coated with toxins that could harm the hive because honey bees rely on the flowers from neighboring crops and ornamental plants. Nowadays, many small-scale farmers use organic or permaculture farming methods on their farms. This entails farming without the use of pesticides and growing multiple crops as opposed to a single crop. For bees, that would be great news.
To be sure the products you buy are bee-friendly, look for labels that state “grown without pesticides” at your neighborhood supermarket or go to your neighborhood farmer’s market. An excellent method to help the bees and your neighborhood is to buy organic and locally.
Grow Bee-Friendly Flowers and Plants
Anyone can plant a bee-friendly garden, regardless of whether they raise bees or not.
Include some native plants from your area in a range of vibrant colors when choosing your garden blossoms. Like people, bees value variety. Plant flowers in bunches and with blossoms of various sizes and shapes to make foraging easier. Explore plants that bloom throughout the year. Support a variety of pollinators throughout a variety of seasons. Smaller plants produce forage more frequently, but trees and shrubs produce significantly larger amounts of pollen and nectar, so it’s great to have a variety of both.
Create A Pollinator Zone
A pollinator garden can be very beneficial to honeybees. Bees can starve if neighboring flowers aren’t abundant with honey and pollen, which they need to survive. Make sure your garden is pesticide-free before you grow a pollinator garden to give bees a year-round food source.
Don’t be frightened to draw pollinators to your property unless you have specific bee allergies. Yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets, which are sometimes referred to as “bees,” are relatives to true bees rather than actual bees. Given that they are carnivores, they won’t be drawn to your plants.
Help Bee Keepers
You can help your neighborhood beekeepers and their bees, as well as your own health and the environmental well-being of your town or city, by buying raw local honey. Unlike pasteurized honey, which is obtained after being heated, unpasteurized, and undiluted, raw honey is obtained directly from the hive and preserves all of its antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and mouthwatering flavor.
Additionally, raw honey is widely recognized for treating small burns and abrasions as well as colds and flu by calming the affected area. You can keep yourself and your neighborhood healthy by only purchasing locally produced raw honey.
Create an Oasis
Bees also require access to water. It’s a good idea to give them a water source because they frequently drown in pet bowls or swimming pools, which don’t have the best water quality for bees.
When given an option, they prefer unclean, algae-covered water. In the sweltering summer, build a bee pond with barriers like pebbles to prevent the bees from drowning.
Provide Nesting Options
The majority of native bee species are solitary, with the exception of domestic honey bees and native bumble bees, which live in social colonies. In other words, they don’t contribute to the care of their young or make honey. The eggs of solitary bee species are instead laid in a number of chambers within a nesting tunnel. These solitary nesters place one egg atop a “bee loaf” they have made out of pollen and honey.
They create a chamber wall, then carry out the operation once more until the tunnel is full. Each egg develops into a bee larva, which eats the bee bread as it grows, pupates, and eventually chews its way out of its chamber as an adult to start the cycle all over again. Although individual bees will nest near to one another when the conditions are right for nesting, they do not live in communities.
70% of the solitary nesting bees that are native deposit their eggs in underground tunnels. The remaining 30% of solitary bees lay their eggs in hollowed-out plant stems, tunnels in dead trees, or holes in downed logs. As crucial as supplying native plants to supply them with pollen and nectar are nesting areas for native bees. Keep dead trees or fallen logs, allow bare patches of soil in your yard for ground-nesting bees, and leave plant stems hanging throughout winter. In order to give native bees a place to breed, you can also build native bee nesting houses.
Leave The Grass To Grow To Provide Refuge For Bees
Less frequent grass cutting provides pollinators with refuge and food sources. If you have a lawn, let some of it grow longer to give your mower (and back) a break. When you mow, cutting less frequently will assist provide habitat for pollinators among the grass.
Note: To lift the cutting blade a few centimeters, raise the mower’s notches.
A little wood pile in a corner, where insects can nest and find food, is another affordable method of supplying habitat. The microhabitat will degrade with time and take on a more natural appearance. Instead of treated wood, use logs or tree branches that have been sawn off. Even a tiny pile of neatly cut twigs and branches at the back of a border can provide cover and be tucked away.
Beneficial Insects Are Great In Your Garden
Treat beneficial insects like hoverflies, beetles, and ladybirds as allies rather than foes because they hunt pest insects like aphids. We can support bees and other members of nature while maintaining beautiful gardens.
Your patch will be transformed, pests will be naturally controlled, and your plants and crops will receive free pollination if you let bees be your guide and ally. That is not a fair trade at all.
Educate Your Children About Bees
Children can become more environmentally conscious and be motivated to spend time outside and away from screens by learning about bees and other pollinators. Bees are intriguing, too!
One-third of our food crops and 90% of our wild plants depend on pollinators, so if you have a vegetable garden, this might be a great approach to discuss their significance.
Honeybee ecologists and researchers are beginning to ask the public for assistance in large-scale research projects. You may provide crucial data to these initiatives, all of which advance our understanding of what we can do to assist the honey bee in need. Check them out and get involved!
We hope that these recommendations may help you to save the bees.
We look forward to seeing all of you playing a significant role in finding a solution, standing up for bees, and perhaps even becoming bee-safe partners!
Check out our shop where we are donating 5% of all purchases this month to Saving the Bees.