If you want to help with the effort to save our honey bee population, here are a few things that you can do right now, even in a small space like a balcony or window sill.
• Plant purples, whites, yellows and blues. These are the most attractive to a hungry bee. Oranges and reds still work in case you’re already committed to a colour scheme.
• No space is too small for some extra flowers. Consider adding extra flowers to your window boxes and balcony planters. Even if you are on a top floor of a condo building in the middle of downtown, bees will travel up to six miles in search of food. Recently, a bee was found on the top of Mt. Everest.
• Include native plants in your space. Local bees have developed a taste for local plants. It kind of makes sense, they were here before us, feeding on the indigenous plants.
• Stop using pesticides in your garden space. We don’t know conclusively that the drop in population is directly linked to various sprays or GMO crops; however, the research is casting some pretty dark shadows in that direction.
• Add herbs and grasses to the mix. Bees don’t just use flowers for food. Go for woody herbs like rosemary and thyme in you planters and ryes and fescues in the garden.
Making the choice to remove the lawn in favour of a field of flowers isn’t for everyone. Saving the bees, however should be.
More than one-third of the food that we eat is pollinated by the honeybee. Making the effort to do something for them should be a goal for everyone this coming summer. I hope you’ll help do your part.