Are you wanting to help honey bees, but have no idea where to start? Are you concerned about the decline in honey bee populations? Do you care about protecting the environment? Luckily, there are a number of simple things you can do to help bees and other pollinators that only take a little bit of effort. And you can even do them right from the comfort of your home!
Did you know that honey bees are not the only pollinators?
When you follow the three tips below, you are doing much more than helping honey bees. You are actually creating the best environment for other pollinators to do their work.
Even though we usually think of honey bees, there are plenty of other species that participate in pollination. Insects such as butterflies, moths, beetles, mosquitoes, ants and wasps are popular pollinators. Birds, especially hummingbirds, and bats pollinate many of the foods we know and love, including bananas, avocados, dates, figs, mangoes and cocoa.
3 Tips for Helping Pollinators from Home
With these three tips, you can do your part to protect our pollinators and the environment. Let’s dive into it!
Provide a Water Source
In the spring and summer seasons, honey bees and other pollinators are very busy in the San Diego area. Foragers bees, those who are responsible for gathering pollen and nectar, can log between 5 and 6 miles and visit more than 2,000 flowers in a day. Amazing, right?
With all of this work, it is no wonder that bees get thirsty. Not only do bees need to drink water, they are responsible for bringing water back to the colony for use in the hive. The water is used to cool the hive in the hot summer months, control the humidity inside the hive, dilute crystallized honey and feed the larvae.
A simple way to help bees and other pollinators is to provide them with a clean and consistent water source. A bird bath does the job. Or, you can build your own bee bath. To make a bee bath, simply add some rocks to a shallow dish and then fill with water so that the tops of the rocks are exposed. This provides a safe place for bees to land while they come for a quick drink.
Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden
Another way to help pollinators is to plant a bee-friendly garden. This tip will take a little more effort, but the payoff can be huge. A garden full of a variety of plants and wildflowers will provide pollinators with a wide range of plants from which they can source nectar and pollen. Bees and other pollinators thrive when there is variety in their food. If you live in California, chances are that a garden planted with lavender, lilacs, sunflowers, mint, rosemary and thyme will be sure to attract lots of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Even weeds such as dandelions attract pollinators!
Do some research to find out which plants and wildflowers thrive in your area. If you don’t have a garden, you can still do your part. Can you plant some herbs on a windowsill or balcony? Get creative and maximize any outdoor space you have access to.
Give Wild Bees a Good Home
Honey bees and bumblebees are not the only species of bees we should pay attention to. In fact, wild bees are equally important to the environment and also face decline. The primary reason for the decline is a loss of their habitat.
So, what can you do to help wild bees? Give them a safe place to call home! Wild bees usually live alone and love to choose underground and cozy places to nest. You can recreate these conditions by providing them with a hollowed out piece of wood or by leaving the ground of your garden undisturbed. You can even build a simple bee house by drilling holes into a piece of wood.