In recent years, a considerable amount has been reported in the media in regard to a drop in the population of bees in the United States, and elsewhere around the world. The most dramatic example of the drop in the bee population is associated with colony collapse, when entire colonies of bees die.
The systematic loss of any wildlife is a sad occurrence. In the case of bees, the drop in population actually has a direct and negative impact on humans as well.
There are steps that you can take right at your home to better the life of bees, and the human population by extension. An enjoyable, and meaningful, step you can take is to plant a bee garden.
Cultivate Native Flowers
One of the most important steps that you need to take in planting a bee garden is to grow native flowers. Bees in your location have adapted over time to native flowers. They will be most attracted to native flowers as a source of sustenance. Your local county extension office can provide information on native flowers. There are also soli resources on the internet that can direct you to native plants in your area most beneficial to bees.
Flower Variety Matters
When it comes to bees, variety is important. They are more attracted to a space that has a variety of different types of blooms they prefer. Thus, in designing your bee garden, consider including at least 10 different types of flowers that are attractive to bees. Again, you are best served focusing on planning native flowers in your bee garden.
Reduce Your Lawn Size
The typical residence has a more expansive lawn and a smaller amount of space dedicated to flowers and other plants. Consider increasing the amount of ground space you dedicate to flowers, and shrinking the size of your lawn.
If you have elected to xeriscape, you can accomplish the goals starting a bee garden and reducing the environmental impact of your garden. You achieve this by focusing on native plants and flowers that flourish in your climate and do not require much in the way of extra watering.
Select Plants with Single Flower Tops
When designing a bee garden, select plants that have a single flower top, as opposed to ones that have double or multiple flower tops. While some people consider plants with multiple flower tops more showy, they actually produce less nectar and are less beneficial to bees than are plants with a single blossom at the top.
Blooms Throughout the Season
When thinking about your bee garden, make a list of different plants that bloom at various points during the season. The most effective bee garden is one that features blooms throughout the entire season.
Bee season itself runs from about March into October. This is the time frame in which you want to be sure you select plants that will bloom at different types during this period.
Hybrids typically are designed not to go to seed. As a result, they produce very little in the way of pollen. Therefore, when planting a bee garden, avoid hybrids all together.
Don’t Forget Solitary Bees
Most people presume that all bees live in colonies. While that is true for a considerable segment of the bee population, there are solitary bees as well.
When planning a bee garden, think about including features that will be attractive to solitary bees. In other words, come up with places within your garden in which solitary bees can live. Sunny, uncultivated soil represents an ideal space for some solitary bees as does the area around a hedgerow.
As an aside, you can also purchase houses for solitary bees. You can find these houses at some garden supply stores and online via a variety of different resources.
Avoid Chemical Pesticides and Fertilizers
Many experts attribute the significant decline in the population to chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In creating a bee garden, avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Use natural alternatives like compost as well as Ladybugs, spiders, and praying mantises. The addition of Ladybugs will enhance the overall look and feel of your garden.
Add a Bee Bath
Bees require fresh water. You can create a bee bath in your garden with a shallow container, lined with pebbles. Add fresh water. Bees can stand on the fresh water an drink. Make sure fresh water is placed in the bee bath on a daily basis. In a short amount of time, bees will come to rely upon your bee bath for water.