The Honeybee vs the Earthworm. Who is a gardener’s best friend?

Written by: Jade Calder

Above the ground we have the honeybee, weighing at approximately 280mg, with a stinger for a punch. Bees are one of the most important insects, if not animals, in the world, as they are responsible for pollinating most of the fruit and veg found in the local supermarket. Without bees, humans would not exist.

Below the ground we have the earthworm, 10 mm in length and 1 mm in width. Earthworms may lack the physical appeal of the honeybee, but the worm’s contribution to soil food web is essential.

But what insect will win the budding title of a landscaper’s best friend?

Honeybees keep flowers laughing

Bees need pollen and nectar for energy and honey making. On the other hand, flowers need their pollen transported to other plant for pollination to take place. That’s a lot of responsibility for one insect but the busy bee is up for the task.

A garden designed to attract bees will increase your harvest of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Bees are especially attracted to blue, purple, and yellow flowers planted closely together.  

In recent years the honeybee has come on trying times, fighting urbanization, pesticides, mites and diseases. This is why gardeners need to plant bee-friendly gardens.

bee-friendly gardens

Pollen Flower Bee Purple Color Blue Orange

Earthworms taking root

Do you ever come across these pinkish-brownish tube-like life forms while working on your soil in the garden? This odd, slimy creature is not a foe. This ecosystem engineer plays an important role in the breaking down of organic matter in the soil turning it into nutrient rich soil for plants. Their tunnels make for better drainage and aeration of the soil providing significant benefits for plants.

Of honey and worm tea

Honey maybe the colour of gold but vermicast (worm poop) is referred to as ‘black gold’. Vermicast or worm tea is a potent organic fertiliser that can turn a browning lawn emerald green in  24 hours, at a hefty price.

vermicast worm poop

Besides the fact that without bees humans would not exist according to Albert Einstein, bees do make life sweeter with honey. Honey has countless medicinal properties and by consuming honey from local bees or bees in your garden, one can reduce pollen allegories. Beeswax can be used as the foundation for many creams.

honey

So, who is a gardener’s best friend?

Whether you are a worm farmer or a beekeeper, both honeybees and earthworms offer crucial ecological service to the world, let alone a garden.

The earthworm builds a solid foundation for plants to grow in, allowing the flowers to grow bigger brighter and healthier. The bee then pollinates the flowers and when the plant dies the earthworm helps break the organic matter down, turning the dead plant into fertile solid for the fertilized seed to grow in.

bee-friendly gardens

Gardening habits that help honeybees and earthworms.

  • Absolutely no pesticides and insecticides
  • Make space for beehives in your garden
  • Mulching helps protect the soil and all its critters.
  • No harmful chemical fertilizers
  • Plant indigenous purple, blue or yellow flowering trees and plants for bees
  • Start composting your food waste. Food waste is rich in nutrients
  • Stop forking flower beds. Garden forks rip plant roots and messes with natural soil layers.