Bees sure do get a bad rap. Some people are down right frightened of them, rightfully so. If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, you may understand that fear. My husband can attest to this. And, some folks are allergic to bee stings and have every right to hightail it to the nearest bee-free oasis. However, bees are our friends and their contributions to the health of our environment and food supply is second to none. You can’t control what happens outside of your property line, but you can make your yard a happy place for the bees to thrive and contribute to your garden! Try these ideas to attract bees:
Believe it or not, bees get thirsty. If you’ve ever witnessed a lone, lazy bee lying on the ground, it’s likely dehydrated rather than dying. Grab a bowl and fill it with rocks or marbles, and add just enough water to allow the objects to remain above the waterline. Bees (and possibly other insects, birds, etc.) will happily take advantage of this convenient “water fountain”.
Don’t spray your yard with insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Any toxic spray in your yard will endanger the health and well-being of bees. Without allowing your yard to become too unsightly, allow it to be wild and a welcoming place for bees, butterflies, birds, and other creatures.
Bees are pollinators and planting the right flowers will attract them. Crocus, catmint, calendula, bee balm, lavender, sedum, borage, foxglove, heliotrope, and marigolds are all favorites of the bee population. Not only that, but planting these gorgeous blooms will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.
Veggies and Herbs
Bees pollinate more than just flowers. They love plants like artichokes, beans, cucumbers, peas, squash, catnip, basil, coriander, dandelion, fennel, dill, mint, oregano, comfrey, and rosemary. The bees pollinate these plants, and you get to devour the resulting harvest. It’s a win-win situation.
Get a Hive
Do some research, then check with the HOA, town council, and your neighbors. Once you get the green light, get your own hive. Amateur apiarists (or beekeepers) are popping up all over the place. You must educate yourself before taking this step, but this is the ultimate way to attract bees to your yard. You’ll be helping the environment and in return, you’ll be rewarded with honey. Sweet!
The decline in the bee population is a serious issue of our time. Overuse of neonicotinoid insecticides in our environment has severely harmed bees and other beneficial insects whose presence is crucial to the functionality of nature. Make sure you don’t purchase plants treated with neonics from your garden store, and avoid using these pesticides yourself. Plenty of natural solutions (such as releasing ladybugs into your yard, or sprinkling plants with cayenne pepper) exist to rid your yard of harmful insects if necessary. Einstein himself warned that if bees became extinct, mankind would only have several years left to survive. Their role in our food chain is critical, and we can help them flourish with a few simple steps to make our yards welcoming and hospitable places for bees to thrive in.