Bees are dying at an alarming rate, but there’s plenty you can do to help them this spring and summer. According to Vox, no thanks to deforestation, intensive agriculture, pesticides, urbanisation, among many other damaging practices, the bee population declines each year.
From 1947 to 2005, the honeybee population alone has declined over forty percent. Since they are pollinators, bees are essential for food production, farming, gardening, and a healthy ecosystem. We need them. Fortunately, you can take an active role in conservation and many of the steps are very simple. If everyone took these steps, maybe we’d see a day where the bee population increased.
10 CREATE A VEGETABLE AND FRUIT GARDEN
If you want to help the bees (and we know you do), and you want to eat fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables every spring and summer, then get started on your vegetable and fruit garden. Whether you’re a first time gardener or an avid pro, planting a garden is a great way to help the bee population thrive. You don’t need a ton of land to do it, either. You can do it in pots or in a small area of your yard. Whatever you choose, doing this one simple thing can greatly help out the bees.
9 PUT OUT A DISH OF WATER
Bees need to drink water, too! It might sound silly to say, but many people, even experienced gardeners, don’t consider this one fact very often. If you want to do a simple deed of helping out the bees this spring and summer, consider giving them something to drink. All you need to do is find a shallow plate, load it with pebbles and rocks, and fill it with water. Lay the plate outside, preferably in a garden or flower bed, and you’re done. Refill as needed.
8 PLANT A POLLINATOR GARDEN
Not all gardens are friendly to bees. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, some hybrid flowers and “doubled flowers” were created for humans but lack the pollen needed for bees. Planting a pollinator garden is an easy and great first step to actively help the bee population. When you create your pollinator garden, be sure to use a variety of native flowers that can last from early spring to late fall, giving bees a habitat for a long time. Plant these flowers in clumps to help the bees find them.
7 USE BEE-FRIENDLY PESTICIDES ONLY
A variety of pesticides used today, especially neonicotinoids, are toxic to bees and are gradually killing them off. They can suppress their immune system and make them vulnerable to mites and other parasites.
We’d recommend not using store-bought pesticides, even if they say they’re safe, but rather use natural remedies, like vinegar, epsom salt, and essential oils. Obviously, you’ll want to do extensive research if you decide to use any pesticide at all. At the end of the day, if you can get away with using no pesticides, that’s the best option.
6 BUY ORGANIC
Since organic farmers don’t use toxic pesticides, you should purchase organic food from a local farmer’s market you trust or a certified organic grocery store. By supporting them, you’re protecting and encouraging bee population growth. Putting your dollars toward organic farmers will increase the likelihood that more farmers will stop using pesticides and start organic farming methods themselves. Naturally, the more farmers that don’t use neonicotinoids will help the bees bounce back and start pollinating again. Plus, you can rest soundly knowing you’re not feeding your family food covered in harmful chemicals.
5 BUY RAW HONEY FROM LOCAL BEEKEEPERS
Hate to break it to you, but the honey you’re buying in the plastic packaging shaped like a bear is, wait for it, processed, pasteurized, and loaded with added sugars. Instead of buying honey from the store, consider buying raw honey from a local beekeeper that you trust in your area.
By supporting local beekeepers, you’re ensuring bees are being taken care of and will thrive. As an added bonus, raw honey is more nutritious than regular honey.
4 BUILD A HOME FOR WILD BEES
Most people think of honeybees when they think of pollinators. Here’s a fun fact for you, honeybees are only responsible for 14% of pollination of crops in the world. Wild bees, on the other hand, do the rest. They’re hard workers!
While feeding and giving them something to drink is great, they also need a home. If you have a few fallen limbs from your tree laying on the ground, leave them; wild bees can live there. Also, take some scrap wood, drill a few holes in them, and attach the wood to a fence or post. The wild bees can make a nest there as well.
3 LET YOUR LAWN BE GO WILD
Almost every house has a lawnmower and many homes take great pride in manicuring and keeping their lawn lush and green without weeds or dandelions. Unfortunately, this has created a wasteland for bees. Bees want to live among the flowers, and lawn without flowers isn’t much use to them. So, if you want to help out the bees, maybe don’t go crazy with your lawn. If anything, square off a nice section that can grow wild and free. The bee population will be thankful you did.
2 BUILD YOUR OWN BEEHIVE
For some, building your own beehive might sound like a daunting, scary task. It doesn’t have to be. There are a variety of resources available for how to get your beehive started online. Many places will provide their own beehive starter kit to help you have everything you need. Of course, before you do this, you’ll want to do a whole host of research. However, it’ll be well worth it. The benefits of a beehive are enormous. You’ll have raw honey to extract, a lush garden full of beautiful flowers and crops, and you’ll be helping the bee population stay strong.
1 PLANT A FRUIT TREE
We realize this one isn’t an option for those who live in apartments or don’t have a yard. However, for those of you who do have the land, planting an apple tree (or any other fruit tree) will help the bee population. The task is not for the faint of heart. It’ll take considerable planning, research, pruning, and care. But, if you decide this is something you want to do, it’ll most certainly be a great step in helping the bees. Plus, if you’re successful and the tree bears fruit, you’ll have a nice crop of apples to reap. The bees, and your belly, will be happy. Win, win.