Few of us are likely to don netting and surround our homes with hives. (If you do want to be a beekeeper, we have an intro to beekeeping for beginners to help you get started.) There are many things we can all easily do to help our beleaguered bees.
Cut Back (or Out) Lawn Pesticides and Fertilizers
Many common lawn and garden chemicals are lethal to bees, while others may weaken their immune systems, allowing parasites, disease or other stresses to finish them off. Instead, switch to a strategy of integrated pest management or opt for natural, organic fertilizers and biological controls.
Cultivate Bee-Friendly Plants
Just as many plants need bees for pollination, bees need plants for nectar and pollen. Not anything green will do, however. In fact, bees tend to be attracted to blue, purple and yellow flowers. Consult with your local nursery or university extension to select appropriate varieties for your area (and view a suggested list here). Research shows gardens with 10 or more bee-friendly plants support the most visitors.
Let There Be Weeds
Many common weeds, such as dandelions and clover, are popular with bees. Go ahead and let some flower, then to keep things tidy, pull them up after they've gone to seed.
Avoid Mulch Madness
Many native bees tunnel and live in the soil, but can be blocked by heavy layers of woodchips or plastic liners. Learn to edge your lawn tastefully without completely shutting out bees.
Help Your Town Protect Bee Habitat
Some of the biggest threats to bees are urban sprawl and intensive land management. But you can reduce this trend by volunteering to plant wildflowers and other native vegetation along roadways and other common areas, and advocating for smart growth and sensible limits to development where you live.
See more bee tips
That Famous Einstein Bee Quote Is Bogus
Amazing Feats of Urban Beekeeping!
5 Questions for Aspiring Beekeepers
How to Raise Native Bees
Buzzworthy Plants That Attract Bees
How to Start an Organic Garden
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