Bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems. A third of all food depends on their pollination, and so a world without these pollinators would be devastating for food production.
The bee population is in decline worldwide largely due to the use of bee-killing pesticides, industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens, and climate change.
There are a number of ways that anyone and everyone can help the bee population. These include:
Plant bee-friendly flowers and herbs in your garden and yard:
Simply planting flowers in your garden, yard, or in a planter will help provide bees with forage. Avoid chemically treating your flowers as chemicals can leach into pollen and negatively affect the bees systems. Beneficial plants and herbs to plant in the spring include lilacs, penstemon, lavender, sage, verbena, and wisteria. In the summer, mint, cosmos, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, rosemary, poppies, black-eyed Susan, passion flower vine, honeysuckle are good varieties. And in the autumn/fall, fuschia, mint, bush sunflower, sage, verbena, and toadflax are beneficial plants and herbs.
Let the weeds grow
Weeds such as clover and dandelion are excellent for helping support bee life. Wildflowers, many of which are classified as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for bees.
Eliminate garden pesticides
Pesticides are bad for humans and pets, and even worse for bees. Investigate organic and natural means of pest control. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in the decline of bees.
Support local beekeepers
Wherever possible buy local honey that is pure and raw honey. Check out your local farmer’s market and find out where the honey comes from by meeting beekeepers. Find out how they keep their bees in a natural and sustainable way.
Leave a small bowl of fresh water out for the bees
If you have planted bee-friendly plants, herbs and wildflowers in your garden or yard, be sure to leave a small bowl of water out for the bees to quench a thirst.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea