If there are two things we’ve learned about bees in the past decade, it might be summarized this way: they do way more than make honey, and they are worth saving even though they sometimes sting us.
Honeybees are vital to American agriculture, and there is some concern about their dwindling numbers. The good news is that there are ways you can help bee colonies in your own yard.
Here are things you can do to pitch in and help them along:
* Plant bee-friendly flowers. You might even go so far as to plan an entire bee garden. Avoid hybrids and double flowers, which often have little to no pollen. Plant in patches, as bees like to focus on one type of flower at a time, and make sure you have flowers blooming all season.
* Limit or eliminate the use of pesticides. The Honeybee Conservancy recommends bringing in praying mantises and ladybugs instead, or using an organic pesticide if necessary. Spray at night when pollinators are least active. And they say to avoid chemicals belonging to the neonicotinoid family at all costs because they are especially harmful to bees.
* Give them a bee bath. Fill a shallow bird bath or small dish with water, then arrange pebbles and stones so they poke out; bees will land on the stones and pause for a drink.
* Sponsor a hive via the conservancy, and support beekeeping efforts by buying local honey.