At first blush, the idea of planting a garden that will attract bees might sound more than a little bit worrying. "Aren't bees just pests?" you might ask, but in truth, the importance and value of bees, as well as the creation of bee-friendly environments, often goes understated, and as a result, natural homes for bees are becoming less abundant by the day. Here are a few facts that may make you appreciate our buzzy little friends just a little bit more, as well as a few tips on how you can create a bee-friendly garden that still looks absolutely stunning.
The Importance of Bees:
We all know that honey and wax come from the endeavor of bees, but what many aren't aware of is that it is estimated that bees are to thank for approximately one in every three bites of food we take. A mere 10% of flowering plants do not depend on animal pollination, with bees contributing to an incredible 95% of crops that require pollination. Fruit supplies, in particular, would dwindle and become increasingly low-quality without bees, as they are the only pollinator that can ensure that we have easy access to unblemished, delicious fruit.
As the population continues to rise, so does the need for more food, with the necessity for sustainable crops on the rise. Without bees to support this process, food supplies would shrink considerably. Additionally, the reduction in products supplied by bees such as honey and wax would have a tremendous impact on the economy as a whole, with South Africa alone consuming an estimated 3000 tons of honey per year! Unfortunately, the bee population has been on the decline as of late, as they are easily harmed by poisonous pesticides on crops and gardens. That's why we should begin to take a few crucial steps towards ensuring that our gardens are as bee-friendly as possible.
Steps for Creating a Bee-Friendly Garden:
Choose Plants that Bees Love
Finding plants for your garden that not only attract bees, but also look lovely isn't as hard as it may seem. Some of the most popular bee-friendly plants you could choose include lavender, lilacs, ivy, basil, and sage. Choosing plants that will flower is also a particularly good idea, which brings us to the next important point.
Allow Your Plants to Flower
You may be tempted to prune flowers from many of your plants, but allowing them to grow will bring a natural beauty to your garden, as well as allows bees easy access to the pollen and nectar they need. Try to choose plants with long blooming cycles, as this will encourage the bees to return to your garden often.
Have a Fresh Water Source
This may sound complicated, but there's no need to have something as extravagant as a waterfall in your garden! Any shallow source of water, such as a bird bath or even freshly watered potted plants, are highly attractive to bees.
Never use Pesticides or Harmful Chemicals
This is perhaps the most important point, as well as one of the simplest to implement. Pesticides and other harmful chemicals not only damage your plants over time, but they are also highly toxic to bees and should be avoided at all costs.
So there you have it! Now that you know just how vital bees can be, follow these simple steps and you'll have a lovely, bee-friendly garden in no time at all!