Bees, the less appreciated insect, are actually the world’s most important pollinators.
THE ROLE OF BEES
Did you know bees are responsible for pollinating about 1/6th of the flowering plant species throughout the world and more or less 400 distinct kinds of agricultural plants? Many species of animals rely on bees for their sustenance as nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits, which are their food source, depend on insect pollination. In fact, if bees stopped pollinating, we will no longer be able to enjoy many foods including apples, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, pumpkins, and watermelons. Not forgetting, honey, which most of us are quite fond of, will no longer be available. Moreover, bees help farmers and communities to earn a sustainable living and pollinate food crops.
So it goes without saying, if it were not for bees, life on the planet would be quite different.
BEES IN DANGER OF EXTINCTION
There are more than 20,000 different bee species worldwide and more than 4,000 in the United States alone. The unfortunate part is 1 in 4 wild bee species in the U.S. is in danger of extinction. Habitat fragmentation, excessive use of neonicotinoid pesticides, colony collapse disorder, and change in weather are some of the many factors responsible for the diminishing bee population.
PLANTING FOR BEES
As every part of the world’s ecosystem would decline without bees, it is crucial to take into consideration practices that will be advantageous to pollinators. Today, many farmers are providing habitat free pesticides, full of nectar and pollen resources, and with enough potential nesting resources. Let’s discuss in detail how you can optimize your planting to help.
The best way to help bees, as well as other pollinators, prosper is to ensure they have a sundry and abundant diet. Choose plants with a high nectar and pollen content and throughout the year blooming tendency. Do your research to determine which plants provide what kind of food for the bees and when.
Get to know the habitat on your farm. Find out the areas on and near your land that can help bees thrive. Use flowering plants and extra nest sites to improve habitat. Remember most bees adore the sun and like to nest in dry places. It’s great to add some flowers, leave some ground untilled, and provide bee blocks to maximize the number of bees on your farm.
To improve the health of bees and all living organisms, consider safeguarding your crops and trees. Avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. This is because most insecticides pose a great danger to bees, and excessive herbicide use can kill many of the flowers that they need for food. Try feeding your plants and amending your soil organically.
It is good to have plants of different heights, shapes, and colors to attract all sorts of pollinators. Pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies also appreciate a varied garden. Bees feed on flowers as well as visit trees, vines, bushes and ground covers.
Bees need small portions of water to survive. In case there is plenty of water, bees can easily submerge in it. So make sure you provide them with a very shallow source of water that includes sticks or rocks. This way they can sit on the dry surface and move to the water’s edge without being drowned. Take care when watering your garden – water in the early morning or early evening hours in the absence of bees.