What would our gardens, parks, and countryside be like without bees to pollinate crops, flowers, shrubs, and trees?
What would our diet be without fruits, vegetables, nuts, and delicious sweet honey? A world without these things would certainly be a lot poorer, and without bees, many of these joys and necessities would disappear.
Benefits of Bees in the Garden and the Environment
Bees play a significant role in agriculture. Without them, fresh produce, among other things would decline.
Millions of crops and plants depend on pollinators like butterflies, bats, and bees to reproduce. It is the familiar furry yellow and black insect buzzing around the summer picnic that is the most important and efficient pollinator of them all.
It is estimated that without bees, the world would drastically lose a major part of our daily foodstuffs . Thankfully, these beneficial insects are very industrious and carry pollen to cross-pollinate plants every day.
It is a mutually beneficial process with them drawing nectar from the flowers to feed and provide energy for them.
The importance continues as they store this sugary stuff as gorgeous golden honey. Moreover, the reproduction of plants provides the bees with future sources of nectar.
Highly organized, the bees tend to stay on one stand of plants rather than dart about over a variety, spreading pollen more efficiently this way. Their furry bodies are perfect for collecting pollen to transfer between flowers while they gather nectar.
2. Food Source
Bees produce honey – a fact known and exploited by humans for generations. However, it is also an essential carbohydrate or energy source for the insects themselves to survive.
Birds, small animals, and insects thrive on dipping into the sugary treats too. As nectar provides energy for the bees, so pollen provides protein and other nutrients, helping the whole hive to thrive.
Additionally, though I forbid it, the healthy bees, in turn, are a nutritious snack for birds, dragonflies, and other insects.
Bees are at the center of complex ecosystems, providing links in connecting chains that allow other creatures to survive and plants to proliferate.
The food chain which ends with the crops and animal products that provide humans with sustenance is vitally dependent on these flying insects doing their daily work.
Understanding this important factor has led to global concern about the diminishing number of bees. As a result, steps have been taken to protect them .
4. Balance the Ecosystem
The multiple benefits of working bees help protect the environment and the delicate balance of world ecosystems.
They provide food sources and shelter for a host of other creatures. These creatures, in turn, play important roles in balancing ecosystems.
So many plants and animals would disappear if it wasn’t for the effective work of these pollinators. From tropical ecosystems to temperate woodlands, all life in these environments needs the constant daily work of these useful insects to survive.
5. Help Wild Plants to Flourish
It isn’t just garden flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables that depend on pollinators but wild plants too. Wildflowers are part of the natural balance of the environment and even weeds need to be carefully treated.
Spraying with chemicals can not only kill bees but also upset their natural way of detecting their food sources in gardens, fields, or woodlands.
Some types of bees are particularly drawn to pollinating wildflowers, nuts, seeds, and berry fruit bushes. These help support the lives of many woodland creatures. Trees also need these small pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower.
Types of Bees
It is estimated that there are over 20,000 species of bees in the world . The ones we are most familiar with are the noisy bumblebees and the buzzy honey bees.
Colonies of mason bees are quite common in some areas. These solitary bees are excellent pollinators and are more effective at it than bumble and honeybees.
Moreover, their name came about because of the masonry work they do. They hibernate in cocoons during winter.
Honey bees are considered the most important. Their hive is well ordered and divided into teams of workers around the queen and her drones.
In winter, they feed on their own honey for energy. Furthermore, they survive by sticking together closely to stay warm.
Bumblebees have a harder time in winter — only the queen hibernates. The rest of the colony dies in late fall. However, on average, they are active pollinating crops from spring through fall.
How to Attract Bees to Your Garden
There are a few ways to let them come to your garden. Two avenues are to plant flowers and shrubs that they particularly like and give them water.
Like all living creatures, bees need water. Therefore, some sources such as a lily pond or birdbath will draw them to the garden. Rocks or stones inside these sources will give landing sites and protect them from drowning.
There are as many varieties of flowers and herbs that attract them. These include mint, bee balm, and oregano. Rosemary and lavender are also favorites of theirs.
Additionally, flowers like asters, zinnias, and daisies attract most bees. Other bee-friendly flowers include poppies and foxgloves.
Moreover, don’t forget the bright marigolds that have many garden benefits as well as making a pretty patch of color.
Many shrubs that attract butterflies, like lilac and buddleia, also enhance the borders and bring both types of pollinators to the garden. As a result, if you have a little space, planting a wild meadow will certainly bring in these useful insects.
For seeds, purchase pollinator variety packs online.
Bees are beneficial to the gardener, the farmer, and to the environment as a whole. Apart from their role in crop production, they also provide profitable business in the sale of products like honey and beeswax.
With dwindling numbers, it is surely important to encourage and protect them for future generations.