It may be time to improve your lawn, sure the green grass looks nice, but what would even be better would be a bee garden. It will not only improve the aesthetics of your lawn. But, It will also be providing sanctuary to the bees who are losing their habitat due to multiple factors, including climate change and increasing use of pesticides.
By starting a bee garden, you are inviting bees to gather their food as well as pollinate your flowers and help create a bountiful harvest.
While beekeepers have advanced techniques in helping their bees thrive, you do not need to be an expert. These are simple things anyone can do in their home to aid the bee population:
A Garden for All Seasons
Bees are the talk of the town during spring. After all, it is when they are most active and this is the time when most flowers bloom. While that may be true, bees still need food sources, especially during winter. Making your garden diverse and planting flowers that bloom at different seasons can help the bees. Hardy mums grow even during autumn and winter and can be a food source for the bees during these cold times. Marigolds and daisies are pretty helpful to bees as well due to being high pollen and nectar producers. Have a chat with your local gardening shop to know what flowers work best for what season.
It would be best if you could avoid the use of pesticides entirely. As it affects the beneficial insects such as bees and other insects that prey on parasites like aphids. The goal of your garden is to provide pollen and nectar to bees and it is counterproductive if you are driving them away with pesticides. It is essential to be mindful of your gardening practices as we need to improve the declining bee population.
Limited Space is Not a Problem
If you live in an urban area but wish to help the bees, then worry not, there are things you can do to help the bees. Simply purchase a flower pot, seeds, some potting soil and fertilizer, then you are good to go.
Bees Are Not Pests
Some people couldn’t even stand the sight of a single bee and rush to quickly eliminate them. It is important to note that bees play a critical role in our food production and also the economy. A friendly tip is a beekeeper or pest services that would gladly extract a hive from your place. So you can enjoy your garden while keeping it safe.
Aside from planting flowers that help bees, you can also help by educating yourself. You can also help by donating to the cause to save bees and creating bee-friendly structures in your garden, such as a bee bath.
The bee population in the United States and around the world has been declining at an alarmingly rate for more than a decade. Since 2006, the decline of Bee colonies has been recorded at the rate of 29% per year. 2018 was particularly fatal with a 38% decline in the bee colonies. It is vital to save the bee colony because bees play an essential role in our ecosystem.
Well known factors that cause a decline in honeybees.
Climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss, environmental pollution, as well as pests and predators, are the factors behind the decline in honeybees.
Change in climate
The change in weather has been a significant threat to the bee population. Studies have shown that when bees are warm, bees find it hard to adapt to the environment which makes it hard for them to move north or thrive in a new environment. Another climatic problem is that the warming of the temperature disturbs the synchronization between the flowering of the plants and the activity of the bees, which can be interrupted if the flowers bloom earlier every year.
The use of pesticides has harmed bee populations. An example of a dangerous pesticide that can cause harm to bees is called neonicotinoid, due to the high chemical content. New research carried out has shown that the use of two neonicotinoids can destroy bee colonies.
Pesticides have had a negative impact on the decline in honeybee by causing death and damage to not only bees but other animals and plants.
Habitat loss due to agriculture, soil degradation and urban sprawl.
The replacement of small, diversified farms by massive individual crop farms reduces the bee habitat and ecological diversity. Air pollution from car emissions has shown a high threat to the bee population, whereby air pollution can decompose the odor molecules of plants which can cause bees in search of a floral fragrance to take longer time to find food due to the change in smell.
At the same time, according to research carried out in 2013, it explained that “biodiversity and chemical-free farming systems, such as organic farming systems, can benefit both managed and wild pollinators.
Pests, virus, and diseases
Examples of viruses and parasites like Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae have also caused a threat to bee colonies. In most cases, commercial bees are often transported to unnatural locations. What this means is that these bees are exposed to new viruses and pathogens, which in the long run, cause the colonies to collapse.
Other threats include parasitic mites that feed on bee blood and may infect the colony with diseases. Note that a decline in the bee population has a negative effect on the ecosystem. The reason is that pollination not only provides food for other organisms but at the same time, enables flowers to grow which helps create an environment for animals. Bees collect pollen and nectar for food supply and transport pollen from the male parts of the flower to the female receptors to fertilize the plants.
The importance of bees to humans and the ecosystem
Honeybees are overall known as generalists, which means that they visit a variety of flowering plants. Apart from the fact that bees are pollinating insects, they can also be managed by beekeepers, especially if they are kept in beehives and brought to better feeding conditions.
Bees are primarily responsible for regulating the human food supply by pollinating a high percentage of plants. It was discovered that only 2% of bees pollinate 80% of the harvest in the whole world.
Bees are incredibly hard-working beings apart from the fact that they are a small insect. If this tiny 2% is lost, 80% of our food will also disappear from crops. Fruits like apples, oranges, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, onions, almonds and so on.
Bees are also responsible for the promotion and preservation of traditional and cultural values. Take, for instance, in ancient years, honey from bees offers medical benefits associated with antibacterial and diabetic agents. In countries like Egypt, Spain and China, bees are associated with heritage, art and also a specific social relationship.
Bees, as said earlier, are essential in the nutrition of other living organisms both plants and animals. They are known to be a significant integral part of many ecosystems. If they are lost, birds, mice, squirrels, flowers and weeds are lost in the same way.
Different measures that can help save bees:
Every house should plant a bee garden
To achieve a bee-friendly garden, start by choosing native plants or buying flowers that bloom all year round.
Avoid pesticides and go organic
The best way to support bees and promote colonial survival is to avoid pesticides. Buying organic food and plant material is easy but it might be expensive. However, if you have the opportunity to develop your own, you may be better off.
If you need to use a pesticide, read the label to determine if it is toxic to bees before you buy it. The use of herbicides should be reduced because they are also toxic to bees. Herbicides kill the flowering “weeds” that the bees need to feed.
Build a bee apiary
Bees are loners and need specific protection areas to nest and care for their larvae. Building a hotel or apiary is simple and offers additional space if fewer natural houses are available. Ideally, maintain a variety of flowers or trees with a good number of flowers for each species.
Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)