Give hard-working honey bees the respect they deserve on National Honey Bee Day. The holiday on Saturday, August 17 is a good time to show extra support for these winged creatures, as these fast-flying insects are responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s food crops and 90 percent of the globe’s wild plants. Here are some tips on how to save the bees on National Honey Bee Day.
Use this fun holiday to educate family and friends about the crucial role honey bees play, especially in light of their recent struggles. The number of honey bee colonies fell by 16 percent in the winter of 2017-18, according to an international study led by the University of Strathclyde. As bee populations decline, food security, the economy and healthy ecosystems are all threatened.
“But the exciting thing is that there are so many tiny actions all of us can do to play a part in protecting bees,” said Cedar Anderson, co-creator of Flow Hive. “Protecting bees is not just the job of beekeepers — we all have a role, and it can start in our own backyards.”
If you want to join in and celebrate National Bee Day, think about creating thriving habitats for “these essential little pollinators,” Anderson said. He suggests these simple tips to help bees thrive.
Stop using sprays
Don’t reach for the pesticides or sprays, as they are considered one of the leading threats to pollinators worldwide. Instead, garden pesticides can be replaced with natural alternatives such as garlic; onion or salt spray; soap and orange citrus oil; or a chili or pepper spray. Keep in mind that natural sprays can also harm pollinators; use them only outside of foraging hours.
Add bee-friendly plants to your garden
Maybe you don’t keep bees, but planting a bee-friendly garden at home is easy. Buy plants that bloom at various times to support different pollinators throughout the seasons. Trees and shrubs produce higher quantities of pollen and nectar; however, smaller plants produce forage more regularly. Try to have a combination of different sizes of native plants.
Let your garden grow wild
Allow veggie and herb plants to flower and dandelions to bloom. This way, the bees get to forage, and you don’t have to worry about gardening for a while.
Teach kids about bees and other pollinators
One of the most effective ways to teach children about pollinators is to take them outdoors and get them involved with planting flowers or building hummingbird feeders. Talk to them about the importance of bees to help them appreciate these important creatures.
Take it to the next level by becoming a beekeeper
Why not delve into becoming a beekeeper and caring for your own colony? It can help you connect with your local environment and keep the bee populations from disappearing.
Image via Christiane