*Photo via Pixabay by NickRivers— many thanks!
Howdy, everyone! This week we have a special guest, Christy who wrote to us eager to share information on how to help the local bee population. Christy is the founder of Savingourbees. Her aim is to collect and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date resources on the bee crisis and information on how to help in your own community.
Please enjoy the following article!
How to Help the Bee Population when You Live in the City
You may have seen news stories about how the bee population is dying off, but weren’t sure what role you could play in helping them thrive. However, it’s important that we all do our part in keeping plenty of plants around for bees to forage from. Now, beekeepers say you can help these tiny creatures–and our future food supply–even if you live in an apartment in the city with no lawn for a garden.
It’s important to note that bees and their cross-pollination habits are responsible for many of the foods we eat year-round, including blueberries, avocados, and apples–nearly one third of our food supply. Without them, our supply of fresh fruits and vegetables would be drastically endangered, and scientists say that even if we could manually pollinate these foods, it would take a lot of manpower and would drive up food prices dramatically.
If you’re ready to make a positive impact on your community and help the bee population, read on to find out how to get started.
Start your own garden
When most people hear the word “garden,” they picture a massive outdoor area filled with flowers and row after row of fruits and vegetables. However, you can create your own green space even if you don’t have much room to spare.
Apartment living can mean making do with what you have to work with, and sometimes that means having a balcony or windowsill rather than a lawn. That’s okay! You can keep pots of herbs–such as rosemary, chives, mint, sage, and thyme–in a very small space. These herbs are a bee’s dream, and the bonus is that you’ll have your very own supply to cook with!
You can also use a windowbox to great advantage when you have a smaller space. Plant a cluster of wildflowers and refrain from using chemical treatments on them, as they will have a negative effect on the bees’ ability to pollinate.
“Limit [them] not just for bees but for all insects in your yard. The vast majority of insects are beneficial or at the least benign; very few are truly problematic pests,” says Lisa Gonzalez, an entomology specialist at the Natural History Museum in L.A.
Be sure to include species that thrive during the spring, summer, and fall, as some bees need to feed during most of the year.
For more information on how to create a perfect garden in an urban dwelling, read on here.
Visit farmers markets
Even if you live far away from the nearest farm, there may be a farmer’s market nearby that you can visit to pick up fresh local produce and locally-sourced honey. It’s important to support the farmers and beekeepers in your area, and eating local honey can also help with allergies, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
You can also talk to the farmers selling honey and ask if they have an “adoption” program for the beehives. Many beekeepers provide honey and other perks for an annual fee that supports their bees and keeps their business going.
Give the bees something to drink
If you have a balcony or patio, create a small area where bees can come to get a drink–they get thirsty, too! A petite, shallow birdbath with stones inside for the bees to crawl on will work nicely, but if you don’t have room for that, try creating your own with a small bowl. Keep it away from areas your pet or children might have access to.
Living in an area with lots of lawn space is great, but you don’t have to plant a huge garden to help the bee population stay healthy and happy. Remember, bees are interested in plants, not in stinging you (unless they feel threatened), so don’t be afraid to have these very important creatures nearby.
Christy is an amateur beekeeper. She enjoys writing about her beekeeping adventures on SavingOurBees.org.