You may not be setting up hives on your roof or in your backyard anytime soon, but to save our endangered bees, you don't need to.
It's true! There are several simple things you and I can do to help the bees in our communities flourish.
1. Cultivate Bee-Friendly Plants
Just as many plants need bees for pollination, bees need plants for nectar and pollen. But not just any plants—bees tend to be attracted to blue, purple and yellow flowers. You can consult with your local nursery to select appropriate varieties for your area. Research shows gardens with 10 or more bee-friendly plants support the most bee visitors.
2. Cut Out Lawn Pesticides & Fertilizers
Most garden and lawn chemicals are deadly to bees; the pesticides that don't kill them will weaken their immune systems, allowing parasites and disease to take hold. Instead, switch to a strategy of integrated pest management or opt for natural, organic fertilizers and biological controls.
3. Save a Weed to Save the Bees
Those weeds you are about to wack down? Not so fast, as many common weeds, such as dandelions and clover, are popular with bees. Go ahead and let some flower, then to keep things looking well groomed, pull them up after they've gone to seed.
4. Ditch the Mulch and Plastic
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.
5. Spread the Love
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.
It's never too late to help our environment, and helping our bees is the easiest way to begin.—N.B.