(StatePoint) You may not recognize honey bees beyond their black and gold stripes, but bees and other pollinators play a vital role in our environment. Bees pollinate more than 16 percent of flowering plant species, including those found in yards, landscapes and parks in our communities and across the country.
Government officials and scientists agree bee health is a complex issue dating back to the 1800’s. Research points to multiple factors affecting bees, such as pests, parasites, climate change, and nutrition problems.
Fortunately, even home gardeners can promote bee health by maintaining pollinator-friendly lawn and landscapes, and incorporating plants that provide an essential habitat.
“Gardeners can make conscious decisions to purchase flowers or plants that increase opportunities for bees and other pollinators to enrich our environment,” says Aaron Hobbs, President of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). “One way we can promote bee health is by creating an inviting habitat and an abundant source of food to ensure bees can meet their nutritional needs to survive and thrive.”
With that in mind, RISE is offering tips for maintaining bee-friendly lawns and landscapes:
• Plant native flora. Growing native flowers and plants will adapt better to where you live and provide a familiar food source to local pollinators.
• Include diverse flower colors and fragrances in your garden. Bees are especially attracted to flowers in shades of purple, blue, white and yellow, while butterflies like red and purple.
• Provide water and sun. Pollinators love visiting a sunny location with a source of fresh water nearby.
• Read and follow label instructions. Be responsible by always reading and following all label instructions when using any pesticide product. Make sure to choose the right product for your problem, and apply it correctly.
• Plant generously. A large amount of flowers is more attractive to pollinators than single plants.
Pollinators play an important role in a healthy environment. Promoting bee health around your lawn and garden can make a difference.
To learn more about the many factors affecting bee health and how to promote their long-term existence, visit www.DebugtheMyths.com. You also can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with #BeeResponsible.
There are many simple steps you can take to be part of the solution in your own backyard and community.
Photo Credit: Dan Braam - New Ulm, MN