Save Our Pollinators: How You Can Help Solve the Bee Crisis
For many, the thought of bees buzzing around brings an uneasy feeling, but the truth is they are in trouble and need our help. In recent years, it has been brought to light that the decline of the bee population is a very serious problem. Urban development and the widespread use of pesticides are just a couple of the reasons for the decline in bee colonies. With the insect’s population dwindling, fruits, vegetables and nuts are in jeopardy as a result — they rely on these buzzing pollinators to flourish. This isn’t just an issue that affects bees, it has an impact on us as well, and we should try to help them. They do a lot for us and there are a few simple things we can do to start helping them, too.
Let’s start with the basics: bees like flowers, so starting a pollinator garden is a wonderful way to encourage and nurture their presence. Gardening is an excellent way to add curb appeal to your home and bond with your spouse or children, all while supporting local bees. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or even all that large, and you don’t need a big yard to do it. You just need to know a few flowers that bees particularly love, and have a small outdoor space where you can keep a couple pots. With limited green space available, a balcony, porch, patio, or even a window box are the perfect spaces for small gardens.
Bees particularly like daisies and marigolds, but ultimately when selecting flowers, you should focus on including those native to your area. Local bees are most adapted to native flowers, and as a bonus they will be easier to maintain because they thrive in the local climate. Your neighborhood farmers’ market can be an excellent resource, if not for purchasing native seeds or potted plants, then for the expert advice of planters who know the area well. (You might even be able to find fresh, delicious, locally-raised honey for sale — that’s a great opportunity to talk to local beekeepers about making a positive impact on bees in your area!)
Be careful with using pesticides in your garden. Unwanted critters will find their way to your plants and an immediate reaction is to hose them down with pesticides. But this isn’t just killing the unwanted insects, it harms the bees as well. So then how do you take care of the other “pests” without killing the bees? Try companion-planting! Add an additional plant to help attract pest-eating wildlife. Adding something like basil next to a tomato plant can help deter other undesired insects. With the right combination of flora, pests will be minimal, bees will buzz, and the plants will be stronger as a result.
If the idea of planting a garden of any scale is too daunting, start by buying locally grown, organic produce. Why would this help? By purchasing locally-grown produce, we are technically supporting the local bees. The more demand the farms have for their produce, the bigger they’ll be and the longer they’ll be around — it’s really one of the easiest ways we as consumers can contribute to the bee population.
We all need bees and that is undeniable. They are a vital part of many natural processes in our environment, and even though their numbers have been dwindling, all hope is not lost. You can still help. By purchasing locally-grown produce or even planting a small garden of your own, there are a lot of easy things we can do on a small scale that will help bees rebuild in a much larger capacity. Let’s help them rebuild.
Image courtesy of Wisa
Author: Christy Erickson (SavingOurBees.org)