Bees are major pollinators that contribute greatly to the world’s environment and food production. However, our humble honey bees are becoming increasingly endangered due to disease, pests, urbanization and climate change, among other factors.
So, we all need to do our bit to protect honey bees and their habitats. Here’s five easy things you can do to help…
1. PLANT A RANGE OF FLOWERS
Plant a diverse range of flowers and ensure they bloom successively to ensure there is something for the bees to forage all year-round.
The more flowers the better – and your garden will look lovely too!
Honey bees are especially drawn to purple, blue, yellow and white flowers with a single row of petals to make the nectar easier to access.
Honey bees are attracted to Lavender, Forget-me-not, and Nasturtium. Herbs including Sage, Rocket, Rosemary and Thyme are great too. Bees love trees like Bottlebrush, Apple Trees and Citrus Trees. For your vegetable gardens, you could plant Cauliflower and Broccoli, stone and pip fruit (such as peaches), or Zucchini and Carrot.
2. GIVE THEM WATER
A birdbath is great or you can you put out a bowl of water with a stone in it for honey bees to perch on and rehydrate.
They work so hard after all – it’s the least we can do.
3. MOW YOUR LAWNS LESS OFTEN
Another thing you can do to help whilst making your own life a little bit easier is to reduce how often you mow your lawn. Honey bees love to forage in Clover and Dandelion so try not to mow too frequently – take a break, you deserve it.
4. SPRAY SAFELY
You should first consider whether spraying is necessary at all. If you decide to spray, make sure to read the label carefully. If bee safety is not addressed you should investigate further.
Make sure not to spray flowering plants. Bees are attracted to flowers so if you need to spray, make sure you do it before they bloom. Bees are attracted to the flowers of weeds too, so if they have flowered ideally mow them or pull them out by hand.
5. BUY NZ HONEY
If it wasn’t for NZ beekeepers, bee populations would likely be severely diminished in New Zealand.
In buying NZ made honey you are directly supporting your local beekeepers and enabling them to help NZ bee populations thrive. Lots of bees means a healthy ecosystem which supports local agriculture/horticulture and helps our gardens flourish too.
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With Spring fast approaching and the weather warming up now is a great time to start thinking making your garden safe and attractive to honey bees as they emerge from their hives and begin foraging for the season.