Bees have been having trouble for a few years now, suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder, a disorder which has a name, but the cause is not yet understood. Possible causes include pesticides, varroa mites and poor nutrition due to a lack of variety in the plants they’re pollinating. You can do your part by making your yard a friendly place for bees.
This can be hard when you have kids and you worry about bee stings. So long as you teach your kids to leave the bees alone, and no one has a life threatening allergy to them, bee stings should not be a huge issue. Bee stings aren’t dangerous to most kids, just painful. If they’re dangerous to someone you love, then clearly you don’t need to encourage them to visit your yard.
Wild bees are a huge benefit to any backyard gardener. They pollinate most plants you’re likely to be growing. If you have other plants for them to enjoy, you should get them in greater numbers.
Plant Local Species
Local plants grow the best and are usually quite attractive to bees. You may want to consider species that produce a lot of flowers for the bees to enjoy. Having only a few blossoms isn’t going to bring out a lot of bees.
Bees love heather, thyme, clover, lavender, marigolds, sunflowers, roses, blackberries and many more. Ask at your local garden center if you need help finding bee friendly plants. They’ll know what’s available in your area.
Bees love to have a variety of flowers to pollinate, so don’t limit yourself to just a few.
Don’t Use Chemical Pesticides
Pesticides are one of the possible causes of Colony Collapse Disorder. At the very least, spraying a pesticide when there are bees around is likely to kill those particular bees. It may also be a problem if the pesticide residue is on the flowers the bees are pollinating.
Just like other creatures, bees need water. It’s the perfect reason to put a small, decorative fountain in your yard. They don’t use much water, and they’re very friendly to bees and other creatures.
If you have standing water such as in a birdfeeder, make sure to change it out regularly. Standing water is an attractant to mosquitos, which lay their eggs in the water.
These things are all very simple to do, and can make a big difference in how many bees come to your yard. Treat them well and you’re helping them to grow strong colonies. Bees are a species that is vital to the cycle of food production, so helping the bees helps us all.
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded