In Canada, we have hundreds of bee species.
The David Suzuki Foundation says that each of these species is beneficial to plant life, but habitat loss poses a serious threat to this natural balance between pollinator and plant.
Bee experts suggest stress caused by pests, pesticides, transportation, and diseases are also to blame, but the evidence is, supposedly, not yet conclusive.
What’s at stake is our food system. Over 1/3 of what we eat each day relies on pollination, mostly from buzzing bees. Without these important pollinators, we wouldn’t have apples, almonds, avocados, blueberries, chocolate, coffee… The list goes on and on.
We can help these crucial pollinators and the future of our food system by creating pollinator-friendly spaces in our yards, on our balconies, alongside the highways, or in parks.
What is a pollinator-friendly space?
It’s kind of a mouthful, but don’t worry, it’s a super simple concept. Essentially, you’re developing a welcoming space for pollinators like bees to find shelter, drink water, and eat.
There are three main ways you can accomplish this. You can install or make a bee hotel, you can set up a bee bath, and, of course, you can plant bee-friendly varieties of herbs, flowers, and trees. For maximum effect, all three methods should be used together to create a bee-friendly ecosystem.
In order to provide food throughout the entire growing season, make sure to plant varieties that bloom at different times: early spring, mid-summer, and fall. This way, hungry bees always have something to snack on.
You can further boost your garden’s appeal to vulnerable bee populations by planting in clusters. This makes it easier for bees to locate the food source and increases the efficiency of pollination.
Avoiding neonicotinoid insecticides in your pollinator-friendly space is also crucial. These chemicals have been shown to harm bee populations by affecting their ability to collect pollen, reproduce, and navigate back to their hives. They’ve also been shown to make bees more susceptible to disease. They don’t belong in a bee-friendly garden or a sustainable, eco-friendly household.
What are bee-friendly plants?
Bee-friendly plants are varieties that attract bees by their shape or
Nevertheless, the most environmentally-friendly garden sticks with native species that are already adapted to local soil and weather conditions. These varieties require fewer resources to flourish because they’re accustomed to the existing ecosystem.
The Honeybee Conservatory suggests following this blooming guide:
Early spring: crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac
Summer: bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons, foxglove, and hostas
Fall: zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel,
Other varieties of bee-friendly plants and trees include:
Many of these beautiful species also provide healing benefits in home remedies and make delicious additions to salads and sauces.
Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can help save the bees. Even a single flower pot and a little dish of water on a balcony can go a long way in helping tired, hungry, and thirsty bees as they work to pollinate our plants and protect our food supply.
Cover image credit: Pexels