By Cristian De Rusha, Farm Director at Arden
When planting a garden, it takes more than soil, water, and sunlight to make it grow. Pollinators are some of the most important insects in our environment, helping at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants spread and thrive during cross-pollination. In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, over $235 billion worth of annual global food production depends on direct contributions by pollinators. If you love fresh produce like papaya, melons, cucumbers, and eggplant, your year-round menus rely on them.
And yet bees, one of the most recognizable pollinator populations worldwide, are disappearing. It now falls to us to save the bees, and our environment along with them. Honeybees are generalist pollinators. In short, that means that they can pollinate any plant and don’t rely on a specific flower or plant to do their jobs, unlike other insects, like wasps. Our fruit and vegetable gardens are fueled by honeybees that spread pollen and help our produce thrive, so it’s in our own interest to help them however we can.
With August 20, 2022 being World Honeybee Day, I wanted to share how you can help local bee populations and how you can keep your own garden buzzing.
Leave Some Fresh Water
Like every other living thing, honeybees need fresh water to keep them and their colony growing. If you live near a body of fresh water, the work is already done. If not, you can leave a small dish of clean water, to help bees stay hydrated on hot summer days.
Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden
If you want to attract bees to your garden, there are herbs and flowers that are bee-friendly that will attract bees and help the other plants in your garden grow. Consider planting rosemary, wild geranium, poppies, marigolds, or oregano, which bees happen to love. Flowers like sunflowers, or cosmos, can bring color to your garden and are rich in pollen and nectar, which help bees ramp up their production of honey.
Bees are sensitive, so chemical pesticides and fertilizers can be harmful to their systems. Consider using organic products and solutions instead. Composting, for example, adds extra nutrients to the soil that helps to keep your plants and produce healthy. If you need to use organic pesticides, make sure to apply them as early as possible to avoid spraying when bees are out.
Support Local Beekeepers
One of the easiest ways to help local bee populations is to support local beekeepers by purchasing the soaps or beeswax candles that they make. You can also buy local honey, which is both delicious and may help with allergies too! Look for nationwide organizations that specialize in bee conservation and other environmental groups, where you can donate your time, resources, or monetary contributions. You can check out The Bee Conservancy or SAVE the BEE to support the national movement to save the bees, or turn your attention locally to the Palm Beach County Beekeeper Association.
If you do find an unwanted beehive around your property or neighborhood, please contact a beekeeper to remove the hive instead of having it sprayed. Now is your chance to make an impact on the environment and #BeeTheSolution.