To bee or not to bee? That is the question for today.
Beekeeping isn’t for all of us. While many preppers have no problem keeping bees and harvesting honey, it isn’t necessarily something all of us feel comfortable doing. That being said, that doesn’t mean that bees and other pollinators like hummingbirds are not important to your garden, especially if there is a disaster and resources become more scarce.
Virtually all of the world’s seed plants need to be pollinated. Pollen may look like insignificant yellow dust but it contains a plant’s male sex cells and is a vital link in the plant’s reproductive cycle. With pollination, plants can reproduce, maintain genetic diversity, and create flowers and fruits to encourage seed dispersal to ensure the continuing of their plant species. That is why creating a bee-friendly garden is such an easy and important thing you can do to ensure the continuing life of our most important plants, especially if we are in a SHTF scenario.
If you are planning on having a beehive or even if you are not, here are some great tips for attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden or backyard. Remember, if you have a family to educate your young ones on how to behave around bees, especially if there is any allergy. For the most part, these guys won’t bug you at all and simply be a welcome addition to your backyard ecosystem.
How to Create a Bee-friendly Garden
Plant for your Climate
It really isn’t that hard to begin planting a bee-friendly backyard, you may already have one to a certain extent. The first rule to attracting pollinators is having a variety of flowering plants that will grow well in your climate. You will want to find plants that flower for longer periods rather than just short season bloomers. Remember that any space you can find for flowering plants is acceptable, even if you don’t have the room for a backyard, an extra pot of flowers on your front stoop is at least a start.
Bees love bright vibrant colors at least most of them. Bees cannot see color that is in the red end of the spectrum so to attract them to your pollinating plants consider blooms in yellow, orange, white, blue, even purple and pink with their red hues, often have enough color to draw a bee’s attention.
Dual Purpose Plants
If you are growing your own food already, you may consider plants that can both feed you and your pollinating friends. Bees love flowering herb plants as well as small flowering fruit plants and vines, meaning you can grow your own food and promote a positive environment for bees and other pollinators.
Plant on a Cycle
Not all of us live in places where we can plant year round, but you can still plant a garden that flowers for most of the year even if you live in a colder climate. Try to include as many plants that flower at different times as possible. Make sure you have early season bloomers that will give you flowers in April and May; as well as late bloomers that will go into October. This will ensure you have pollen for your bees and other friends for the majority of the growing season. I personally like to plant perennials; especially for my early spring plants; as they will come up, again and again, each year and let me know naturally when things are ready to bloom.
It’s best to group different flowers together, I mean think about it, you might as well help the pollinators do their job. Also, look for plants that have flowers that bloom in cluster or clumps, the more flowers there are, the easier it is for the pollinators to get what they are looking for.
Plants for your Bee-Friendly Garden
If you follow the above guidelines, you should be able to pick out your own bee-friendly plants that will work best in your own climate, however, sometimes it’s nice to have a place to start. These plants are favorites of bees and other pollinators, and many of them have herbal and medicinal qualities, like mint, basil and yarrow root, that make them useful for you to grow, use and stockpile as well.
Consider adding these plants to our pollinator-friendly garden:
- Day Lilies
- Black-Eyed Susan
Say No to Pesticides and Weed Killers
They say that over 50 percent of the honey that is on our shelves contains some sort of pesticide or insecticide, something no one needs to be ingesting. If you want to create a garden that is friendly for pollinators, avoid these harmful chemicals. There are a variety of natural alternatives if you need to turn to some sort of pest control. You can also plant certain plants that can help you keep certain pest away naturally. You can still attract the bees and butterflies, but avoid those mosquitoes by planting some lemongrass or citronella which are known to keep them at bay.
Remember to avoid using weed killer on your lawn as well. Those dandelions you’d love to get rid of are a favorite of bees and should be kept away from harmful weed killers and pesticides as well.
Add a Water Feature
You wouldn’t believe how much water bees actually drink, which is why beekeepers often have ponds or other water features nearby their hives to quench the hardworking bees’ thirst, especially on those hot summer days. You don’t need a pond for your garden, but a small bird bath, a fountain, or even a few bowls of water spread throughout your yard, can help keep the bees and other pollinators hydrated and happy.
Bees and our other pollinating friends are just as important to our livelihood as saving food or stockpiling seeds. They provide an integral part of the life cycle of our plants without which many of our resources would eventually die out. Providing our pollinating friends with a friendly place will help our gardens now and especially in the case of a disaster later.