5 ways to support bees at home

Bees are amazing! Did you know that bees (honey and native) are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food we consume? Countless fruits, vegetables, and nuts, as well as half of the world’s oils, fibers, and raw materials, rely on bees for pollination. They also sustain our ecosystems and support our natural resources by helping plants to reproduce. 

Unfortunately, there is a multitude of threats that affect the bee population today (habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, disease, & pests), and its become increasingly harder for bees to do their job. 

When we recognize the value of bees as pollinators for the survival of almost all plants, the importance of native bee stewardship and backyard beekeeping becomes that much more critical. Beekeeping isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay! The good news is that there are quite a few things you can do at home right now that will have a positive effect on all the pollinators in your area. 

Plant a bee-friendly garden
Ideally, use a wide variety of native herbs and flowers and that bloom from spring through fall. Add a bee bath to your garden, a shallow container of water with a few sticks, twigs, or rocks in the water will give the bees an area to rehydrate. Need to know what flowers and plants are best for pollinators in your area? https://www.outsidepride.com is an excellent resource for anyone looking to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. 

Let your grass grow, and don’t remove your fall leaves
Let a portion of your lawn grow wild, or take a break from mowing your lawn as often. Mowing your lawn less frequently helps to create a refuge for bees that prefer a more meadow-like habitat. Longer grass provides nesting and habitat sources for pollinators as well as seasonal blooms for food. Fall leaves left on the ground provide extra habitat for bumblebees and other ground-nesting bees. 

Eliminate the use of pesticides
Insecticides are poison! Bees exposed to pesticides experience confusion, hindered foraging ability, and increased mortality. In particular, neonicotinoids pose a toxic threat when absorbed into plants fed upon by bees. If we want to help protect bees, we must be diligent about keeping pesticides out of our gardens. A good bee-friendly alternative to the use of pesticides in our gardens is introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs and spiders or the praying mantis. These are all higher on the food chain than many many harmful insects.  

Establish native bee houses & habitats
Keeping solitary bees (mason bees in spring & leafcutter bees in summer) its easy! There’s no special equipment needed, and these solitary non-aggressive bees (who don’t make honey) are super pollinators! Solitary bees are a wonderful addition to any backyard garden and are very family friendly. Make sure to hang your bee habitat near a window so you can enjoy watching these incredible pollinators at work. If you are interested in purchasing a mason bee house or learning more about how you can support native pollinators, Crown Hill Bees is a fantastic resource.

Support local beekeepers and organic farming practices
Supporting a local beekeeper by joining a hive-share or purchasing raw local honey at a premium, will support their effort towards ethical and sustainable methods of beekeeping. At Keepers Collective, we work hard to maintain a sustainable environment for our honey bees and wild bees. We only keep the number of honey bees any one area can support, making sure not to deplete resources for native bees. 

It's also important to support local and organic farming practices whenever you can. Smaller local farms create a better food system, increased biodiversity, and choose sustainability over mass crop production. 

Bees need our help, and we need theirs! Let's do our part to bee the change. Click here to read more about ways you can encourage your child to love bees too.

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