Many people don’t know just how important honey bees are. They are not just here to provide the sweet taste of honey that so many people enjoy and love; they play a very important role in our ecosystem. There are nearly 1,000 plants that are grown for beverages, spices, food, fibers and medicines that need to be pollinated for the finished product to be produced. Honey bees play a vital role in the pollination process for many of these plants and without them we wouldn’t have the products we need. A lot of the fruits and other foods that we consume on a daily basis are here because of honey bees and the pollination process they provide. Could you imagine your local grocery store without apples, magos, Kiwis, plums, onions, strawberry’s?? We must make it our duty to protect honey bees. There are a few key things that we can do to help protect them.
- Plant your garden with bee friendly plants: When honey bees can’t find crops that they can pollinate from, they look for and rely on garden flowers to get their pollen and nectar. If you plant single flowering plants and vegetables in your garden, honey bees are able to pollinate from them and get what they need in their diet. Things that are honey bee friendly that you can put in your garden include: hollyhocks, sunflowers, flowering herbs, mint, foxgloves, lime trees, willow trees, and bean plants are all good for honey bees.
- Protect any swarms you may see: If you happen to see a swarm of honey bees coming together as a colony, don’t try to move them or get them to go away. Swarming is very good for honey bees and it is very natural. If you do see honey bees swarming, call a beekeeper or the local police. The swarm will be moved to a safe location.
- Create a place for a beehive in your garden: If you have the opportunity and space in your garden, you should get a beehive for your garden. You can contact a local beekeeping association to come in and put a beehive in your garden. This will allow for the crops and plants in your garden to fruit a lot better. Your fruit trees will have healthier and non-deformed fruit, and your garden will be one of the few dedicated to helping honey bees!
- Be friendly to the honey bees: Bees are good to have around; they are not violent and only sting when they are provoked to do so. There are some key things that you can do to ensure the safety of the honey bees and ultimately the safety of yourself. Beekeepers have protective clothing they wear, but you don’t have that. If a honey bee should hover in front of you, they are just inquiring to see if you are a plant or crop they can pollinate from. Don’t swing or flap your arms when they hover. It’s best that you stay calm and move away slowly from the honey bee. If you can, move into the shade of a tree. The honey bee won’t be interested in you for long and will go away. Honey bees don’t have the best sight, so if you are wearing a scented perfume, lotion, shampoo or anything that carries a scent they may think it’s something they can pollinate from. If you know you’re going to be near a hive its best not to have anything that is scented on.
These are a few helpful things you can do to help protect honey bees. If we all do these things; honey bees may just help us pollinate our plants long into the future.