What can you do to promote more bees in your area? Why not plant a bee-friendly garden! Here are some tips from the Honeybee Conservancy and The Ohio State University Bee Lab to help you plan for your pollinator garden:
- Rethink your lawn.
- Replace parts of your lawn with bee-friendly plants or leave clover and dandelions in your lawn for the bees. If this is not for you, think about how you could incorporate plants in already existing landscape beds.
- Select single flower tops for your bee garden.
- Double headed flowers make a powerful statement but produce much less nectar and make it much more difficult for bees to access pollen.
- Skip the highly hybridized plants.
- Highly hybridized plants tend to have very little pollen for bees. It is best to choose native plants that are pollen and nectar sources.
- Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall.
- Planting different types of flowering plants that bloom in different seasons ensures that bees have enough food throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall months.
- Build homes for native bees.
- Unlike honeybees who live in colonies, our native bees, who are solitary, need places to build homes. Leave hollow reeds, spent plant debris and areas of bare soil to help native bees find nesting places and materials. Mason Bee houses are also available for purchase. While the honey bee gets most of the credit for providing pollination, there are actually about 500 bee species in Ohio!
- Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
- Using integrated pest management (IPM) techniques is important before reaching for a pesticide. IPM is an approach to pest management that focuses on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. Many times, there are management techniques that require a little bit of elbow grease and time on your part to help with the management weeds and/or pesky insects.
- Build a bee bath.
- Bees need water to survive. Fill a shallow container with fresh, clean water with rocks or twigs for bees to land on while drinking. Bird baths work well for this purpose. Make sure to check water cleanliness and level once a week.
The Honeybee Conservancy (http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org)
OSU Bee Lab - https://u.osu.edu/beelab/
Xerces Society - https://www.xerces.org/
To contact the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District with questions about pollinators or soil and water conservation, call 513-695-1337 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: The Honeybee Conservancy, The OSU Bee Lab and the Xerces Society