|Bee Friendly Gardening “Garden to Help Beneficial Honey Bees |
As the honey bee population declines, there are simple steps you can take to help the bees, including buying local honey, growing flowers and more. Recent news reports have said that more than 25% of the U.S. honey bee population has disappeared over the last few winters. The effects of this can be felt in many areas, including the growth of many nut, fruits and berry crops – important produce for farmers and food manufacturers alike.
Why Are Honey Bees Important? Many U.S. crops depend on honey bees for pollination. As the honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their own survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90 percent dependent on honey bee pollination and one crop in particular – almonds — depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time.
What’s Causing the Decline in Population?
Researchers say that the decline in the bee population can be traced back to the following.
- Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). More than 35 states across the continental United States and in two provinces in Canada, Belgium, and Spain have reported this condition. CCD is thought to have claimed the lives of billions of honeybees around the world.
- Varroa Mitesh. Accidentally introduced into the United States in 1987, these tiny brown parasites feed exclusively on honey bees.
Viruses. Israeli AcuParalysis Virus (IAPV) has been linked with CCD.
- Chemical Exposure. Tests on pollen in CCD-affected hives show levels of 45 different types of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
- Lack of Nutrition. A limited supply of good pollen and nectar (due to drought) has had an effect on the decline of the honey bee population.
What Can I Do?
There are several things that home gardeners and concerned citizens can do to help the honey bee population. First, create a bee-friendly garden with plants that are attractive to honey bees. These include lavender, jasmine, rosemary, violets, thyme, blue bells, wisteria, cone flowers and sunflowers – common (and in some cases, local and native) perennials and herbs that can be grown easily and with little maintenance. The plants will also add beauty and diversity to your garden.”
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Buzzworthy Plants That Attract Bees
It isn’t difficult to make your yard, garden or even patio space a haven for beneficial bees. You’ll be helping these important insects, as well as bringing more nature to your backdoor.
The greater the plant diversity, the more bees you will attract and support. Always try to choose as many native plants as possible, and consult with nursery staff or other experts to find vegetation that will thrive in your specific conditions.
Here is a partial list of tried-and-true bee attractors:
Fruit Trees (especially Crabapples)
Golden Rain Tree
Making a Wildlife Garden
Great flowers start with pollination, and for that you need bees.