Over the past few years, a worldwide consciousness about the need for bees has developed, the direct result of studies indicating that one-third of all honeybee colonies in our country have disappeared. Currently referred to in some circles as Bee-nificial, the benefits of these and other pollinators, long overlooked or at least taken for granted, have now become news headlines as we realize why we need bees and the serious consequences of their dwindling numbers.
More Than 85 Percent of Earth’s Plant Species Require Pollinators to Exist
There are 350,000 plant species in the world, and about 80,000 are edible, with about 150 species actively cultivated for human consumption. One of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators. According to the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, global food demand is forecast to double and possibly even triple by 2050. That’s a lot of plant life needed to sustain a hungry planet! How will we supply the demand without bee-nificial pollinators like bees?
We Need Bees and Other Beneficial Insects and, More Than Ever, They Need Us
Pollinators help 70 percent of the world’s flowering plants to reproduce, the source of many of our fruits and vegetables. In fact, blueberries and cherries are 90 percent dependent on honeybees, while almond crops depend entirely on the honeybee at bloom time.
Without the daily efforts of pollinating insects, every living thing could potentially suffer from the negative impact.
We need bees to sustain the following:
- Health and Wellness
- Environmental Beauty
- Medicinal Products
- U.S. Agricultural Economy
Protecting pollinators has become a worldwide priority, but you can easily participate in the effort from your own Northern Arizona backyard. Amazingly, just two hives of bees can pollinate an entire mid-sized residential garden. By providing non-stinging bees (native to your climate) with attractive, natural-looking bee hotels around your property, everyone benefits.
How to Practice Long-Term Care of Bee-nificial Pollinators and Ensure Survival
- Create habitats for pollinators by supplying necessary water, food, shelter and places to raise their young.
- Plant in clumps; clustering plants makes them easier to find and shortens the need for travel, reserving the energy of backyard pollinators.
- Plant a section of native plants and wildflowers to increase nectar and pollen sources for butterflies and bumblebees.
- Choose a variety of plants that will bloom in rotation through the growing season.
- Choose a variety of colors and shapes; different pollinators are attracted to different types.
- Build or purchase a bee condo, or leave dead trees or limbs for nesting habitats.
- Plant where bees will visit, such as sunny spots versus shade, with some shelter from strong winds.
- Avoid pesticides if at all possible.
Warner’s locally grown native plant selection, as well as all the other quality plants from the nursery, provide multiple food sources for all those buzzing bees providing for you. FBN
Here’s a list of list of plants that will keep bees busy and your yard looking lovely, too!
By Misti Warner-Andersen