Helping Bees Through the Summer

Summer is the time of year when bees typically buzz around, staying so busy that it is hard to catch them still. Bees work diligently throughout their life cycles. Many in our nation have reports of fewer encounters with bees in the wild, and this has alerted beekeepers and enthusiasts nationwide to take notice and find ways to help bees get through the hottest months of the year. Although bees are still around us, they may be seen less frequently. North America has noticed significant declines in honeybee activity, which some scientists call colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD is when bees abandon their hives and don't return. Many claim the bees' vanishing has to do with increased pesticide use and chemical fertilizers common in farm use, while others point the finger at climate change and cell phone radiation. Researchers are still on the road to discovering the root causes, but until then anyone can do something to help the bees survive this summer.

Bees Are Critical to Pollination

Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem, and their existence puts food on the table, literally. If bees were to vanish completely, the world’s food production would suffer significantly. Agriculture and farming would suffer tremendously, and that is why it is important for everyone to do their part to help bees. Some ways to help bees this summer include:

Thoughtful Gardening

Bees need pollen to survive. Foraging allows bees to store, consume, and care for the queen and the rest of the bees in the hive. Some easy things that anyone can do to help ensure there are enough pollen sources by planting bee-friendly plants. Even if you don't have a green thumb, seeds can be tossed in the yard or the garden, and little flowers will pop up. Bees love flowers that are purple, blue and yellow in color. Any plants with antlers are preferable and easy pollen for foragers. Some examples of bee-friendly plants are oregano, lavender, sage, and alfalfa. These are great not only for bees but also smell great in a garden! Plant things that bees like but wasps and hornets despise, such as tulip poplars and oranges – these keep the garden fresh and wasps at bay!

Another thing you can’t do that will help is not to over-garden your garden! Allowing some weeds to grow, like dandelions, leaves accessible sources for bees and other pollinators. One dandelion flower may have up to 100 florets for bees to collect pollen, which is why bees are often seen in dandelion patches. Those who prefer a manicured lawn can leave a small area that grows a little wilder without sacrificing the magazine cover look.

Support Local Beekeepers

Showing support through purchasing local honey and honey products is an excellent and delicious way to support bee populations. Beekeeping is significantly less profitable than it used to be, mainly due to the declining bee populations. Encouraging others to support beekeepers and even consider doing it themselves is a great way to help boost bees’ health this summer and year-round. Local honey is known to have health benefits, and there are countless recipes to use this summer – try some honey ice cubes in your drink for a sweet touch!

Create a Safe Space for Bees to Settle

Bees, like all living things, find safe spaces to make their hives. Some people may not want bees directly next to their homes, but there are ways to create a safe shelter for these essential pollinators this summer. Bees will naturally find hive locations in dead trees, abandoned animal burrows, underground nest tunnels, and tree branches. In the summer, they often find places in the shade, especially in hotter areas!

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Making Space for Bees

If you want to create spaces on your property for bees to settle, you can put blocks of wood with holes of different sizes and see if they settle there. Some companies create and sell bee boxes, and beekeepers try to attract bees to these shelters in various ways. Placing a water source where bees can rest and lap up some hydration is another sure way to help bees this summer. Bees not only drink water but carry it back to the hive to use as a cooling agent. In the hotter months, ensuring bees in your area have plentiful water sources is an excellent way to help this summer. Shallow pie dishes, a bucket with sticks, or a bird bath with pebbles inside are great places for bees to get water. Remember that bees don't swim, and that is why they end up drowning in pools if there is a shortage of water sources.

There are many ways to help bees survive this summer, so try your hand at any of these ideas and do your part to help. If you live in Southern California and want to get some delicious local honey, call D-Tek today at 760-224-3040! Owned and operated by a dedicated and experienced beekeeper, D-Tek can help with any bee questions and concerns you may have!