Due to radiation and pesticide exposure bees are dying. But you can save them by making a bee garden. For, this you’ll need to make small changes in your garden. What’re these changes and how to apply them? Read below to find out.
Why you should make a bee-friendly garden?
We know, how bees pollinate fruits and flowers and increase crop production. The main benefit of inviting and providing habitat to bees is improved yielding and healthy fruiting. Your veggies and fruits will not grow in irregular shapes and sizes and your harvest rate will increase, too. By Encouraging bees you’ll also allow other pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds to visit your garden.
Bees will bite you?
Bees, unlike wasp are lovely buzzing creatures that seldom bites. Most of the bee species are defensive rather than attacking; especially bumblebees and solitary bees are harmless and those who bite only do this in defense.
How to make a bee garden
A bee garden is a type of garden that attract bees and provides natural habitat to them. With slight alteration like growing bee friendly plants, providing shelter and changing your gardening habits, you can make it.
1. Avoid Conventional Pesticides and Fertilizers
To make a bee friendly garden, avoid using harmful pesticides and fertilizers in your garden. Go Organic! Bees are so tender that chemicals in these products directly influence their life.
2. Native vs Exotic
Grow more local and native plants in your garden because bees attract towards more native and wild varieties of plants than exotic and fancy ones. Of course there are always those non native plants like butterfly bush and firecracker that attract them.
You’ll also need to grow less hybrid flowers; hybridized flowers are showy and hardy but contain less or no pollen.
3. Plant More Single Petaled Flowers
Single petaled flowers have only one ring of petals and they provide more nectar and pollen than double petaled flowers. Also, pollinators prefer specific designs, sizes, smell and colors of flowers. For an example, bees love to feed on small flowers and hummingbirds draw towards large flowers.
Plan for year round blooming of flowers to attract bees in your garden, choose annuals and perennials equally. Plant flowers that bloom season by season: crocus, borage, calendula and lilacs for spring. Bee balm, cosmos, marigold, sunflower, pentas and snapdragons for summer; zinnias, aster and gaillardia for fall.
5. Grow Flowers in Clusters
Bees flicker from flower to flower that’s why growing flowers in clusters is a good idea. You can do companion planting for this.
Always prefer bright and cool colored flowers like blue, yellow, white. Bees avoid dark and bold colored flowers.
6. Grow More Winter Flowers
In colder climates, many bee species stop buzzing in winters— bumblebees go to hibernation, solitary bees die off and others migrate to more temperate parts. Still, there’re a few bee species like common carder and black bee that are hardy to cold climate, but die off due to lack of flowers. Take special care in winter, if you’re living in colder zone; grow more winter flowers like narcissus, cowslip, ground ivy etc.
7. Grow Fruits, Veggies & Herbs
Not only flowers these pollinators attract towards fruits, veggies and herbs, too. In herbs, grow catmint, lemon balm, oregano and cilantro. Grow fruits like peach, blackberry, guava, strawberries and passion fruits, they’re full of nectar. In vegetables, grow squashes, gourds and peppers.
8. Don’t pull every weed
Don’t pull weeds like milkweed, dandelions, lantanas and clover; they are really important as pollinators like bees and butterflies feed on them. If you fear that weeds will invade your garden, then grow them in large containers and do deadheading to avoid seedpods from forming.
9. Bee Nest
Once you find out that these methods are working, plant a honey bee nest. For this, implant a hollow stem in your garden in a shady and less windy corner that’ll not be disturbed. Abandon an area of small patch of dried grass, and dead woods with holes for bumblebees and solitary bees.
Bees drink water too, more in spring and summer from shallow water sources like puddles, dog bowls, and small ponds and creeks. You must arrange a water source for them. If you’ve a water pond already, you don’t need to do anything, otherwise install a dripping faucet and place a wooden board under it. Water will drip and not only bees, butterflies will drink from it, too. You can also put a plate or bowl of water near the flowering plants.
11. Lawn Replacement
Replacing your lawn will not only save you from its maintenance but water and lot of money or if you can’t sacrifice your lawn, at least cut off its area— grow flowers around the outer edges. You can also grow herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, borage and lavender.