Everyone has heard about saving the bees, but why is it so important? Honey bees are vital to any environment and as such is a key part of the community. Bees are productive little workers, benefitting their own colonies as well as the environments they live in. Without bees flying from plant to plant and pollinating them, the fruits and vegetables we eat would be in short supply.
Unfortunately, bee populations are declining. This means we are quickly losing an immensely fascinating and beneficial species. Protecting the bees means protecting your community, and everyone can help. There are a lot of different ways to protect honey bees so they can help your local environment flourish. Here is how you can help.
Keep Bee-Friendly Plants
Honey bees need plenty of plant-life to sustain their hive. Pollen from flowers is rich in protein and used to feed the larvae, while a supply of assorted, nectar-rich flowers is vital to the creation of honey. A garden of (or even just a few potted) native plants that are rich in pollen and nectar is the perfect menu that will help your local bees thrive. Do some research into what flowers are good for attracting bees. Be sure to have various plants to last them throughout the different seasons. If you don’t have the space—or the green thumb—for a garden, an alternative is to let weeds grow into part of your yard. Dandelion and clover are popular among honey bees and serve as an excellent food source. This is especially the case in early spring before other plants grow back.
Support Your Local Beekeepers
Your local beekeepers are doing everything they can to help their hives and promote the importance of honey bees. You can lend a hand by buying your honey locally. You will financially support your local beekeepers—and their bees. Plus, you will reinforce sustainable and environmentally friendly beekeeping practices. Since bees are so good for the environment, buying your honey locally means you are directly supporting your local environment as well. Local beekeepers often sell more than just honey, too. You can get soap, lotions, and candles made from the work of local bees.
Avoid Using Pesticides
No one wants pests on their plants, but many pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical sprays can be lethal to bees. Cut out chemical treatments for your plants—even treatments labeled as organic can still be harmful. There are various natural treatments you can try to keep pests away from your garden or yard. If you are buying new plants for your local bees, make sure the supplier didn’t pre-treat them with insecticides. You can also promote the limit of these chemicals state or nationwide. There are plenty of petitions you can sign that demand regulation to help bees stay healthy and thriving.
Keep a Water Supply
Like all living things, bees need water to stay healthy and productive. They work tirelessly to collect nectar and pollen, and if they can’t find a water source, they can easily become dehydrated. You can help them out by setting up a clean, safe spot for them to rest and get a drink. This can be as pretty and extravagant as a garden pool or fountain, or as simple as a small bowl filled with water. Whatever you do, make sure the water is free of chemicals. It is also a good idea to place stones, twigs, or other places for bees to land on in the water.
Sponsor a Hive
If you don’t have the space or can’t make it to your local farmer’s market, you can still support the bees. Consider adopting or sponsoring a honey bee hive. You can help keep local beekeepers in business even if drought or other complications hit their hives. You can also fund new hive installations in your community or across the country. Not only will you protect the bees, but you will promote a healthy, environmentally friendly practice for your community as well. This is also a great way to boost awareness about the importance of bees and the work your local beekeepers do.
Even though they are beneficial to our environment, bees can still alarm people, especially when we encounter them in large numbers. A honey bee swarm happens when a colony outgrows their hive and makes a mass move to a new home. Even in a swarm, bees aren’t a danger when they are left alone. If you come across a swarm, leave it alone and contact local authorities. They can collect the group and relocate it to a safe, new home.
There are a lot of misconceptions about honey bees. When many people think of bees, they tend to think of gross or creepy insects that sting you and cause a lot of pain. You can get rid of these negative connotations through information, education, and awareness. This will go a long way in protecting bees and the work they do for the environment. Learn more about honey bees and share your knowledge wherever you can. Consider writing articles for the local newsletter or participating in events and fundraisers. The more informed people are, the more likely they will be to help support and preserve their local bee populations.
Start Your Own Hive
Of all the different ways to protect honey bees, becoming a beekeeper is among the most exciting. Providing a safe habitat and caring for a colony is one of the best ways to support bees in your community. It can also result in delicious honey and some side cash for you as your hive grows and prospers. You can buy bees and everything you need to keep them. There is a buzzing community waiting to share your love of honey bees.
No matter where you live or what you do, there is an easy way for you to support your local bee population. If everyone does their part, we all benefit—bees, plants, and people alike.