6 Ways You Can Help Our Favorite Pollinators
Bees are essential to the wellbeing of our planet. In fact, none of us would be here without them. I’ve been a beekeeper for three years now, and I love educating people on what they can do to help pollinators in their area. Whether you have a sprawling yard, small garden, or just a few windowsill planters, there are plenty of little things you can do to support your local bees.
"Planting pollinator-friendly flowers is an easy way to help local bees."
1. Get Planting
Planting pollinator-friendly flowers is an easy way to help local bees get the pollen and nectar they need for a healthy hive. The Pollinator Partnership website has a great resource for what to plant based on any location in North America.
2. Say No to Pesticides
Bees spend a majority of their time and energy gathering nectar for winter honey storage. Every flower they visit is an opportunity to bring healthy nectar or a harmful pesticide back into the hive. If you can help it, avoid spraying flowering plants with damaging chemicals or weed killers. The health of an entire colony could depend on it.
3. Buy Local
Support local beekeepers wherever you can. Buying raw unprocessed honey at your farmers market is a great way to directly support the source. Or look online for a local beekeeping organization to find and connect with a beekeeper in your area. A lot of beekeepers sell more than just honey; you can get local pollen or even filtered beeswax with which you can make fun DIY lip balms, candles, or hand salves.
4. Keep Those Weeds Growing
Much to the chagrin of gardeners, those pesky dandelions are a favorite treat for honey bees. They are one of spring’s first flowering plants here in New England and are a critical source of early nectar. I always try to keep mine growing no matter how unsightly they become. This year I’ve also been carefully mowing around our clover patches, and even watering the clover to keep those flowers long and strong for the bees to visit.
5. DIY Bee Feeders
This video shows a great tutorial on how to make a simple DIY bee feeder. All you need is a mason jar, pie tin, sugar, water, and some stones or rocks — and you have a great place for bees to recharge during their foraging flights.
6. Let Them 'Bee'
There’s a huge difference between honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. Before reaching for a harmful pest spray, understand and learn about what kinds of pests are native to your area. Honey bees are docile and passive creatures who are focused on the task of gathering nectar. Leave them alone, and they should return the favor.