There is something both sincerely beautiful and innately satisfying about watching bees in your garden. Everyone knows the honeybees, the hard workers that we depend on to sweeten our coffees and cakes. Most are just as familiar with the bumble bees, the relatively harmless and fuzzy pollinators known for their clumsiness. North America has over 4000 native bee species, many of which are wonderful pollinators and amazing guests for your garden. So how should one go about inviting and making their local bees feel welcome in their backyard?
Bee City USA, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of pollinators in urban spaces, released a guide with a few simple suggestions. First, they recommended planting only native species, as pollinators may not be attracted by non-native species. Planting flowers in large clumps rather than individually creates an oasis for these pollinators, a safe place to eat and rest. They also suggest providing a small habitat for nesting and egg laying, such as a bee block or shrubbery. Lastly, they point out how damaging pesticide use is, and strongly recommend limiting as much pesticide use as possible.
Another thing to consider is your method for watering your garden. You may not have noticed, but bees don’t like the rain! Falling droplets of water pose a serious risk to the small insects, knocking them out of the air and damaging wings, and puddles can be lethal. Of course, you can’t control the weather, but you can avoid artificially creating these dangerous conditions by choosing not to use a sprinkler system with your garden.
Instead of a sprinkler system, try investing in drip irrigation! Drip irrigation wastes less water due to runoff and evaporation than sprinklers, making it more environmentally friendly. It also means you can enjoy your garden at any time of the day, and not have to worry about getting wet from your sprinkler. A drip irrigation system also makes it easy to add a small water feature for your pollinators, simply placing some moss or rocks or rocks underneath an unused faucet and watch as delighted bees stop by for a refreshing drink!
There are many things you can do to make your garden a safe haven for pollinators. Remember to be aware of the conditions you create and how that can impact these insects. If you research and think carefully before deciding the features your garden will have, you too can create a bee garden, and enjoy the rewards of watching pollinators hard at work in your own backyard!