This post is sponsored by Friends of the Earth. All opinions are mine. #BeeBold
I’m sure you’ve heard that the bee population has suffered a massive decline in numbers over the last few decades. According to a White House fact sheet, “The number of managed honey bee colonies in the United States has declined steadily over the past 60 years, from 6 million colonies (beehives) in 1947 to 4 million in 1970, 3 million in 1990, and just 2.5 million today.” This is a very alarming trend because we need pollinators to grow most of our fruits, nuts, and vegetables! Without the bees to pollinate our crops, we don’t get crops, folks. I’ve read various reasons for the decline in pollinators, but most often pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, are blamed. If you’d like to help the bees in your area, here are 5 easy things you can do, right in your own backyard.
5 Easy Ways to Create a Bee Friendly Habitat
1. Don’t use pesticides on your yard.
Pesticides are not discriminatory and kill most bugs, including beneficial bees and other pollinators – which we desperately need. I’ve seen sad memes about the amount of money we waste on lawn care in the US. We waste a lot of energy throwing away grass clippings and spraying our yards to make them “beautiful.” But the reality is, many of our current lawn care practices are harmful to vital pollinators. It’s better to let the dandelion, clovers, and other weeds live as they provide food not only for bees, but also butterflies and other beneficial insects too! And I’m sure we can all think of better things to use spend the money! Or if you must use pesticides, use them very very sparingly.
2. Plant bee-friendly plants.
Bees need lots flowers for food, and they’re very useful because while they eat, they pollinate many, many, many of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts. If you’d like to add bee-friendly plants to your landscape, it’s best to find plants that are native to your area because bees are already adapted to them and can easily get their food. If you’re unsure of what types of flowers to plant, here are a few they love:
- black eyed susans
Planting a variety of flowers that will bloom at different times of the year is a great idea to give bees nectar throughout the year. Bees also love herbs, too! They’re easy to grow and great for cooking. So add a few herbs to your landscape as well.
3. Incorporate a shallow water source in your garden.
Bees need water like most other living creatures. Water helps them make honey and keeps their hives cool and healthy. A shallow water source, filled with rocks to provide a safe landing area, will provide a good place for bees to get water without drowning.
4. Add a bee habitat to your landscape.
It’s nice to encourage non-aggressive mason bees to stick around. I love this Bamboo Mason Bee Hive House Friends of the Earth sent me! It looks so nice hanging on my garden shed and I can’t wait for bees to move in.
If you get a house like this, you’ll want to find a location that’s protected from the wind and that will get warm light in the morning and shade in the afternoon. You’ll also want to mount the house 3-6 feet above the ground, on a flat surface using screws.
If bees scare you, or you can’t have them around because of allergy issues, check out this post on how to great a butterfly habitat in a pot.
5. Host a brunch for bees!
Help spread the message to all of your friends by hosting a fun brunch for bees! Friends of the Earth has made hosting a brunch for bees very easy by outlining all the steps here. I found a lot of nice brunch recipes on this list and look forward to making them. I think I’ll serve my Skillet Sausage & Egg Hash and Roasted Corn, Pepper and Chickpea Salad with Goat Cheese – one of the brunch recipes from Friends of the Earth!
What are you waiting for? Make positive changes at your home to help give our pollinators a fighting chance. Sign up here to host your own pollinator brunch and get a free how-to kit from Friends of the Earth!