How Do Bees Help the Environment and How Can You Help Them?

Imagine life without food staples such as coffee, chocolate and apples or the delicious meats from animals who feed off pollination-dependent plants and crops. Unless your food was synthesised in a Federation Starship replicator, today’s breakfast depended on pollinators. But the planet’s pollinators are at risk. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the bee populations are declining, largely due to loss of natural habitat, the use of pesticides, and climate change.

How do bees help the environment?

best flowers for bees

With 75% of the world’s crops depending on pollinators, the reduced population of pollinators could jeopardise people’s food sources both directly and indirectly. Many plants are grown for direct human consumption, but they also provide the nutrient and energy foundation for entire food chains. Diverse habitats depend on the bees who pollinate the plants lived in by insects and eaten by animals, as well as the trees that shelter these plants and animals. In turn, these ecosystems work together to sustain oxygen-rich air, filter water, and reduce soil erosion.

What are the best flowers for bees?

There are many different characteristics that appeal to pollinators – colour, scent, shape, amount of nectar – but the best consideration might be to plant flowers that bloom at different times of the season. This gives bees a steady source of pollen. From the early bloomers, such as chives, oriental poppies, and crocuses to the later blooms of lobelias, goldenrods, and asters, pollinators can have a steady feast. Alternatively, something like lavender can offer a constant source throughout the season.

Wondering how to help bees?

We are inundated with negative news about the harmful effects of global human activity on nature, and it might feel overwhelming to know how to help. But there are simple, easily sustainable changes that can be made, one little decision at a time.


How to Help Bees in 10 Outrageously Simple Ways

how do bees help the environment
  • Leave your leaves. While fall is traditionally the time for raking leaves, leave them on the ground until late spring and the leaf litter will provide a protective cover for insects and a foraging site for birds.
  • Grow your grass. Lawn weeds such as dandelions are a plentiful source of pollen. Try to avoid cutting your lawn (or a portion of it) during dandelion season. You can even harvest the dandelions and use them in several recipes.
  • Prolong your perennials. Leave them fully intact for wintering beneficial bugs.
  • Hide your hives. If you have hives, ensure they have shelter from winter storms by putting up a protective piece of wood.
  • Share your stumps. Leave hollow trees and stumps in your yard for honeybees to hang out for the winter.
  • Show off your bloomers. Let your flowers fully blossom before doing any hedge trimming, lawn mowing, or shrub pruning. 
  • Build a bee water station. Put out a shallow dish of water, but add marbles, glass beads or rocks for the bees to perch on so they don’t drown.
  • Support your local beekeeper. Buy honey, wax, and beeswax wraps from your local producers.
  • Protect from pesticides. Eliminate the use of pesticides in your yard and gardens by using an alternative method to protect your plants.
  • Gift your friends Greet ‘n Grow plantable greeting cards. The next time you have occasion to give someone a card or note, choose one that will give back to nature. Some of the bees’ favourite flowers will grow from the buried Greet ‘n Grow cards, including Sweet Alyssum, Black Eyed Susan, and Bird’s Eye.
It might seem like helping the bees means taking big actions that involve political engagement and letter writing campaigns, but there are many ways individuals can make a difference one small but mindful act at a time.
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