Few things are more rewarding for farmers and gardeners in British Columbia than gazing out over a springtime flower garden or a late summer or fall crop bed full of ripe produce ready to be harvested. However, if your garden is underwhelming this year, the answer might be buzzing just out of your reach: bees.
In addition to being skilled honey producers, bees are essential for pollinating almost all flowers and fruits we enjoy. Their absence may keep your garden from producing its most abundant crops. Here are a few reasons to keep inviting bees into your garden and around your plants if you want to maximize your garden’s growth potential, as well as some tips on maintaining your grow area as welcoming to bees as possible.
What’s So Important About Bees?
The plants we grow (or that grow in the wild) are necessary for the existence of wild pollinators like bees, and in turn, the bees are necessary to the plants. Bees receive vital nutrients from the plants in the form of pollen and nectar, and they also disseminate the pollen that plants require to reproduce. The area’s biodiversity suffers if this natural cycle is disrupted from either end.
Buzz pollination is a technique used by bumble bees to release pollen from flowers by vibrating the blossom while they are holding it. Many different types of wildflowers, as well as plants like peppers and tomatoes, depending on bumble bees and their buzz pollination. Bee pollination of plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs benefits plant life and wildlife. Animals, birds, and other insects find shelter and food among the plants. Healthy flora also improves the condition of the soil, the air, and even the water we consume. Bees are essential to the continued life of this interconnected ecosystem.
Many of the reasons contributing to the bee population decline are caused by humans. Numerous studies have found that the widespread use of pesticides on crops has significantly contributed to their reduction, and chemicals still threaten bee survival. Inadequate nutrition and a rise in pests and infections are different causes of the drop. Because of human extermination efforts, bees no longer have access to protected areas or a wide array of plants to feed on as they formerly did. Pesticides not only cause bee deaths but also cause bees to lose their homes and safe havens.
Fortunately, the backyard gardener can positively influence things and contribute to the bees’ survival. Bees require a habitat that draws them in and then promotes pollination, which the typical gardener can quickly provide by making a bee-friendly garden.
Tips For Building a Bee-Friendly Garden
Luckily building a bee-friendly garden often doesn’t mean changing all of your plans or disrupting the natural flow of your garden!
- Grow Native – Plant various flowers that bloom at different times of the year to entice bees and other pollinators to your lawn. Replace non-native flowering plant species with their native equivalents for a simple exchange because native plants are more pollinator-friendly and thrive in the area. If you’re unsure of the native plants that will thrive in your area, consult a nearby garden center or a landscaping expert to help you construct a bee paradise. Avoid larger chain stores since they frequently use pesticides and other chemical treatments on their plants to extend their lives, which can be harmful to honeybees and other pollinators’ health.
- Steer Clear Of Pesticides – Speaking of pesticides and chemical treatments, our best answer is not to use them, period. Pesticides and herbicides also kill bees, the microorganisms that support plant life, and other creatures, in addition to undesirable plants and pests. Chemical fertilizers, often synthetic fertilizers, rob your soil of vital nutrients, make the soil acidic, and leach into the groundwater, all of which impact the pollen quality bees require to survive.
- Consider Your Soil – Because some bees require access to soil for nesting, it is crucial to provide bees with high-quality garden soil. Bees won’t remain in the garden if there aren’t suitable nesting places. Decide on a soil type with the proper nutrients and qualities to draw bees while selecting soil for your garden.
- Embrace the Natural – Weeds aren’t always a negative thing to have in your garden, despite what many of us have been told. Some weeds are as attractive to bees as other plant varieties, if not more so! You should leave a few bee-friendly weeds in your gardens, such as dandelions, milkweed, and clover.
- Add In Some Water – Because bees require water much like humans do, offering them a nearby water source will entice them to stay in your garden longer and pollinate your plants. This is your chance to finally add the stunning water feature to your yard that you have always desired. To entice bees to land for a drink, keep the water levels low, stay away from fountains and pumps that move quickly, and add some floating, flowering plants and other sceneries.
If you’re looking for a fun and easy way, even easier than the other tips we’ve mentioned, why not consider bringing mason bees into your garden with the help of Clear View Garden Shop? Mason Bees are good pollinators because they have a lot of body hair that collects pollen and carry all of their pollen from blossom to blossom, rather than cleaning themselves after each flower. Even better, since they are solitary bees without a colony or queen to guard, Mason Bees are less likely to sting. We sell both Mason Bees and homes for them every spring, so be on the lookout!
This article should have given you a better understanding of the value of bee-friendly gardens and what you can do to make your garden a little more enticing to our buzzing companions. Even though it might not seem like building a bee-friendly garden will have much impact, every little bit counts. So invest in high-quality soil, and a variety of flowers, and the next time you encounter a bee, say “thank you” for all they do.
Free Gardening Resource
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CLEMATIS!
Sign up for our newsletter and get your copy!