It's a question we hear a LOT: what can I do - besides beekeeping - to help our local bees?
Oh my goodness. We love that question! Every time it comes up, I breathe a sigh of relief: we are getting it. We're engaging. We're doing something about the decline of the honey bees in our area. It fills me with hope each time I hear the question. What can we do to help bees? The answer? Quite a bit.
While we'll get into more specifics this year, we want to start here: bees, like you and me, need to eat. Worker bees forage nectar and pollen from the plants in our yards, our neighborhoods, our cities, and our countrysides. It's vital that we do whatever we can- even if it's just on our individual balconies or yards or property- to ensure that bees have a safe, appropriate, and plentiful food supply. The bonus for us? These gals repay us with pollination and increased plant fertility. It's a fair trade, for sure!
The following is a list (by no means comprehensive, however) of trees, plants and herbs that are suitable for bees in our local area of Texarkana (Bowie County, Texas). While there is some debate surrounding a few of the plants both on and not on this list, we at Balm+Honey Farm believe it's a good place to start.
Here's that list of What To Plant For Bees:
Basil 'African Blue"
Pink Evening Primrose
Blue Beard Spirea
Meyer Lemon Tree
Gregg's mist flower
Blue Mist Flower
Helianthus 'Lemon Queen" Asteraceae
Lyre leaf sage
Nellie Stevens Holly
Hemp Vine (Monarch Vine)
Queen Anne's wreath
Baby Blue Eyes
Whew! That's a lot! Do you have any of these plants in your vicinity already? If so, the bees will thank you. Can we work toward growing more of these bee-friendly species in our area? Absolutely. Together we can do so much!
This year, we've challenged ourselves to plant at least three (3) of the plants on the following list. Might you be able to set a similar goal and help us make our area a bee friendly place? Many thanks in advance.
-Brin, Managing Beekeeper, Balm+Honey Farm