Bee-lieve it or not, bees play a vital role in sustaining the environment around us by doing many things, the main one being pollinating plants which enables those plants to continue to grow, feeding animals, insects and humans.
Bees are vital to us humans and the environment from a worldly standpoint to a local one, but sadly, they’re rapidly declining around the world due to climate change, habitat, chemicals used in pesticides, and other factors. To know what you can do from home to support your local bees, read the 6 tips below (spoiler, one of them involves honey 🍯).
Tip 1. Try to avoid using toxic pesticides and fertilisers in your garden. Pesticides and fertilisers are poisonous to bees and there are ways to keep your plants happy and healthy, as well as the bees all at once. There are many natural pesticides and fertilisers you can use in your garden which will not be harmful to your local bees.
Tip 2. Plant bee-friendly plants in your garden! By doing this, you’re providing your local bees a constant supply of fresh plants to pollinate. Try planting:
- Lavender (different types throughout the year and for different climates)
- Sweet Basil
- Native Violet
- Native Rosemary
Tip 3. Encourage bees to build a nest in your garden (providing you can do this in an area which is a safe distance from yourself, kids or pets that may be allergic to bees or wary of them). You can do this by leaving undisturbed patches of soil, clay or sand banks, with hollow shoots such as bamboo or discarded plant material that you haven’t disposed of yet. These nests do well in quiet areas like sheds, in sunny patches and also in vegetation.
Pro tip: If you want to take it a step further, there are many at-home beekeeping kits you can have in your backyard to provide a home for your local bees.
Tip 4. Do your tastebuds a favour and buy local honey. Not only does local honey have a fresher, richer taste, it supports sustainable and healthy beekeeping practices in your local area. Buying locally can also mean that the honey is only strained before being bottled, rather than through stages of processing, which can reduce the nutrients and pollen within the honey.
Tip 5. If you have a bee nest or swarm in your garden or nearby and are concerned with it being there, contact your local beekeeper who will be able to safely relocate the nest or swarm without harming the bees.
Tip 6. When you come across a bee on the ground, moving slowly or seeming lethargic, it may be that they’re exhausted and need a little help to get back up off the ground and to its home. There’s a quick and simple way you can help an exhausted be below:
- Mix two teaspoons of white granulated sugar (never use honey – only white granulated sugar) with one teaspoon of water. Place it on a plate or put some on a teaspoon and lay it close to the bee.
- Once the bee has had just a little bit of the sugar mixture, leave the bee alone and it should return to normal.
Bonus tip: If a bee is noticeably wet and in need of some care, place the bee in the sunshine to warm up.