We continue with our Pollinating Good Ideas to help bring back our pollinators. The focus in this article - Bees! We have a few more tips, tricks, and information to help you protect and grow pollinator populations and the environments in which they depend.
Give Them Shelter
Because bees transport food for their offspring to a central nesting site, having food and nesting sites near one another is critical. Most bees nest underground, digging their own tunnels. They prefer areas of bare ground with sandy or loamy soil.
- Provide natural nesting habitat for bees by leaving dead trees in place when possible.
- When trimming plants and shrubs, leave stems somewhere on your property as many will have bee larvae in them.
- Do not mulch all areas of your yard; keep bare areas of sandy or loamy level ground for use by ground-nesting bees. Also leave leaf litter in wooded areas.
- Practice no-till methods in your vegetable garden (i.e., try not to dig or turn the soil) to allow bee larvae that are underground to develop into adult bees.
Bee Shelter at Honeybee Inn B&B, Horicon
Ditch the Pesticides
Both direct contact with many pesticides and contact with pesticide residues on plants can be harmful or lethal to bees, so be cautious. Most plants can easily tolerate some insect damage. Also keep in mind that the insects that feed on your plants are a source of food for birds and other wildlife.
- Use non-chemical alternatives for insect control such as row covers, or physically removing insect pests from plants and placing them into a bucket of soapy water.
- If you feel a pesticide is necessary, apply when plants are not flowering and/or in the evening when temperatures are cooler and fewer bees are foraging. Mow off blooms before treating dandelions in the lawn.
- Also consider using formulations that are less toxic to bees such as those containing bacteria as active ingredients, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, and narrow spectrum chemical insecticides.
Garden at Miller's Daughter B&B, Green Lake
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