Summer’s song includes the buzzing sound of bees in our gardens. These hard-working insects play a crucial role in our food production. Bees’ large hives are highly portable, and the honey bee is excellent at sussing out all of the plants that need pollination. Here’s some honey-baked food for thought: Bees practice flower fidelity because they only stick to one flower type at a time. This practice makes them highly efficient pollinators.
Bees are an integral part of our farming system as they contribute more than $14 billion to the value of crop production in the U.S., according to the American Beekeeping Federation. They also pollinate wild flowers that provide a food source for insects that fuel the food chain.
Avid gardeners can do their part to attract hard-working bees and help our environment.
What Can You Do to Help?
Gardeners can research plants that are bee-friendly. Maybe you have a small plot in your backyard or a big space where you can plant the ultimate pollinator garden that include wildflowers, fruit trees and bushes. The bees will return the favor by increasing the production and health of your garden and nearby flowers. Providing a pollen and nectar source is an excellent way to help the declining bee populations.
Alternately, if a garden is not an option for you, supporting your local farmers and beekeepers is an easier way to help. Purchase local, organic produce and honey. And, if you really feel the call, perhaps look into keeping a bee farm of your own (provided you are not allergic).
Don’t Have Enough Space?
If you live in a city, you may be thinking that starting a garden is impossible. However, you can grow a garden nearly anywhere! Whether it’s in metal buckets, planters off a terrace, or literally climbing up a wall, anywhere you can pack in soil and plant a seed, you can start a garden. Hydroponics, gardening without soil, has also been a big buzz around the sustainability communities across the globe.
When practicing small-space gardening, always keep your light source in mind. If you are gardening in an urban setting, you’re almost always going to have a building on one side, maybe more. Observe the light patterns over the course of a few days and gauge where your plants will get the most sun. Aside from helping to save the bees, small-space gardening is a great way to expose yourself and your kids to nature and to create at least a portion of your own food supply if you are so inclined.
Simply planting a garden may not feel like much, but individuals making productive and eco-friendly choices is how large-scale change happens. By visiting your local farmer’s market or utilizing your green thumb to start a garden in Manhattan – and everywhere in between – can do wonders to save the bees. When we help the bees, we help ourselves. It’s a win-win solution!