Bravo! You want to save the bees. But where do you begin? Here’s my take on how you can help. It’s not hard, just a few deliberate steps in the right direction. And, yes, you can make a difference.
1. Go organic
Many of the pesticides and herbicides we use in our yards will kill bees. Some examples of harmful products are Round-Up (glyphosate), neonicotinoids, and fungicides. Americans spend billions of dollars on toxic additives to their yards.
Homeowners use ten times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use per acre on their crops. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Garden chemicals are not tested for safety on bees and other pollinators, by an independent source, before they enter the market. So you must assume that every chemical can do harm. (Many products have been declared “safe” as they enter the market, but later found to be harmful to bees and other pollinators, and even people.) In my opinion, of all the things that are causing harm for the bees, chemical pesticides cause the most harm.
Be careful, too, about buying plants that are treated with neonicotinoids or other pesticides. Learn how to avoid them by reading this article.
The good news is that you don’t need these chemicals. And your yard and gardens can be even better without them. Choose organic fertilizers instead of synthetic ones. Organic fertilizers release more slowly into the environment and create healthier soils. I take a simple approach to organic gardening, no fussy sprays, or elaborate fertilizing schedules. Keep it simple and check out my Organic Garden section.
Buying organic food will also help save the bees, by supporting farmers that do not use synthetic chemicals on their fields.
2. Plant bee flowers
Pollinators have lost valuable habitat and they need your help. Here at Green Garden Buzz, I like to focus on the flowers that offer the most pollen and/or nectar for the bees (both native and honey). Take a look at my Flower Power section where I highlight plants that are great for bees. Consider native plants for your climate. Ideally, you would grow a diversity of bee flowers in every season, to offer the most food possible. And don’t forget about the trees that are good for bees too.
By taking these two steps you could make significant changes to your local ecology, helping not just bees, but various pollinators as well. Want to help the bees even more? Here are some other steps you could take.
- Provide water.
- Protect bees outside your yard. Advocate for the bees in your town or city by proposing no herbicides or pesticides be used on public spaces. Then advocate for wildflower areas where appropriate.
- Educate others. As you learn how to create areas good for bees, pass this knowledge onto others.
- Get political. Bees needs protection at the state and federal level. Talk to your local representatives and members of Congress and Senate to fight for bee-friendly legislation.
By creating landscapes that are healthier for bees, you also create areas that are healthy for other pollinators, your pets, birds, animals and people. What is good for bees is also good for you. Let’s save the bees.