In recent years, the importance of bees in our lives has seen an increased level of attention. Without bees doing their job of pollination, there is a wide variety of fruits and other plants, not to mention honey, that may vanish from the face of the Earth.
Some people have an adverse reaction to seeing a bee, usually based on fear and resulting from the memory of a painful sting in their past. Bees don’t sting without reason, though; the only time a bee will sting you is if it feels threatened. The fear of stings leads some to try to keep bees from their property, but they can be very beneficial to your lawn and garden.
To keep them happy and thriving, there are some simple steps you can take to make them feel right at home on your property.
Bees love flowers, you already knew that, but sometimes we forget that what looks like a weed to us can be a delight for a bee. If you have a flowering plant of any kind on your property, give the bees a chance to visit a few times before removing it. If it’s a herb flowering, then you have the added benefit of herbs for you to eat (check out when and what to cut from your herb plants) and the bees being able to enjoy them.
Stay Away from the Cides
You may have already opted for more environmentally friendly ways to maintain your yard. For example, using a reel mower or handheld hedge trimmers. It’s also important to consider what you’re spraying onto your garden.
Herbicides, pesticides, insecticides; Any of these “cides” are bad for bees. These chemical cocktails are designed to kill specific things, but that doesn’t make them any less toxic to other living creatures, including bees.
When a bee visits the flower of a plant that’s been exposed to a toxic chemical, not only does it pose a risk to the bee, but it could transport those toxins back to its hive, which could kill other bees or potentially wipe the hive out completely. Also, if you enjoy honey, remember that any of these toxic chemicals the bee brings home can wind up in the honey you enjoy eating so you could cause problems for yourself! Consider how to get rid of weeds and how to deter pests naturally.
Bees Are Thirsty
It’s hard to remember at times, but bees are just like any other living creature; they need water to survive. Bees matter. However, when you’re the size of a bee, not any collection of water will do. Bees need a shallow source of water to wet their whistles because trying to drink from a pond or other deep source of water can lead to problems.
If you don’t already have one, create a shallow water source for the bees in your yard; a shallow birdbath will do. If you don’t have one, there’s a low-cost option you can use to build your very own bee watering hole. Fill a frisbee with water, include a few small rocks or twigs so the bees will have a place to light, and then set it out.
Keep it in the same location, and refill it regularly. The bees will quickly recognize it as a great place to catch a break and a drink. If you have a blue frisbee, that’s even better. Why?
Bees Play Favorites
What’s the favorite color of bees? Did you even know bees have a favorite color? They do. When it comes to finding a flower to visit, blue and purple blooms are much more likely to attract bees than any other color of blossom. Try planting lavender and some other herbs for a mixture of delightful options.
Keep this in mind when placing flowering plants around your home if you’d like to bring all the bees to your yard. Bees have another preference in flowers; they would much rather land on a single bloom flower than one that has two or more flower tops. It’s easier for them to get to the center of the flower when there’s just one bloom.
Let Your Lawn Bee a Good Home
You can create a small home for any bees that would like to take up residence on your lawn, and it doesn’t have to be a full-blown beehive. An open-faced birdhouse can be converted into a home for bees, or even a large potted plant placed in the right spot could serve the purpose. Or make a bee hotel. Consider which bees are native to your area, and research how best to attract them. For example, here are 4 simple ways to attract native bees in Australia.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but the advantages to making your property as inviting and welcoming for bees as you can are many, and it’s worth putting at least some thought into what bees are looking for.