Pollinators like bees and butterflies are very important to the Earth’s environment. “Save the bees” has become a phrase we see all over the place on posters and t-shirts, but do you really know why? I certainly didn’t fully understand the importance of pollinators until I looked into it. I learned that almost all plants would not be able to reproduce without bees, butterflies, bats, birds, and other flying creatures, and that includes almost half of food crops. Half the oils and other raw materials we use would also not be produced without pollinators. The way we live, as humans, would be drastically different without them.
All of the creatures that help plants reproduce should be conserved, and bees are in particular danger. Their populations are disappearing because of pesticides and habitat destruction, at a rate that suggests that they may become extinct. All is not lost yet, though! We can do our part individually to help pollinators, and get bees back to the population that the Earth needs, in small but meaningful ways.
Here are a few ideas for how you can help bees:
1. Grow a Garden
Have a garden? Growing vegetables and fruits that bees like to eat helps the bees live, and helps the process of pollination. Zucchini, carrots, chives, onions, cucumbers, sweet peppers, squashes, pumpkins, kale (for its flowers), and runner beans are some of bees’ favorite veggies. As for fruits, they love cherries, plums, melons, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
2. Plant Flowers for Bees and Other Pollinators
Don’t have a veggie garden? If you have a flowerbed, or anywhere that beautiful flowers can be planted, consider choosing some that are favorites of pollinators. To name just a portion of the flowers that they love, there are lavender, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, wrinkle leaf goldenrod, daisies, lilacs, milkweed, sunflowers, tulips, and geranium.
3. Choose Organic Pesticides
When caring for a garden or yard, limiting harmful pesticide use is extremely important for pollinators. Organic pesticides are free of chemicals that kill bees, butterflies, and other important insects. They are effective, and environmentally conscious. An added bonus: foods grown with organic pesticides are also healthier. If using pesticides with harmful chemicals, make sure to follow the directions very closely. Don’t use them when rain or heavy wind is expected, because this spreads the chemicals around.
4. Give Bees a Place to Live
You can place a shallow dish of water out, and put a few stones in it, and that will make a place where bees can take a rest and get a drink. Lehman’s has a “bee bath” that accomplishes this task and looks great in a garden or yard.
Purchasing a bee house from Lehman’s provides somewhere safe for bees to live, and reproduce.
If you find a bee population in an unwanted area, consider calling a professional to safely rehome the bees to an area without humans, instead of killing them.
5. Spread the Word
Spread the word and support the cause! Tell people why pollinators are important, why they’re in danger, and what we can do to help. Organizations like the Planet Bee Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation do great work to save pollinators.
Every bit done for the bees helps the entire Earth!
New bee hives have arrived at Lehman’s! Shop Lehmans.com to see all our beekeeping supplies, including our Amish-crafted 8- and 10-frame bee hives.