Due to increased use of harmful pesticides, and decreased supply of nectar-rich vegetation in metropolitan areas, the world’s bee population is in alarming decline.
Bees are an essential part of human life. They are the most important of all the pollinators, and we have a vested interest in helping them thrive for future generations. While there are a number of ways we humans can help stop the decline of bees worldwide, you can start just outside your back door.
Making a micro garden on the balcony
You don’t have to have a large lawn to create a bee-friendly garden. If you have even a small balcony, there are many ways that you can transform it into a small haven for bees. It just takes a little hard work and patience. Get started with these five tips:
1. Plant a variety of flowers that bloom in every season
Ask your local gardening store for advice on which types of flowers grow well in your region for each season, and plant them strategically around your balcony to ensure that bees have a steady source of nectar all year. While most bees won’t be out and about during the winter months, there are a few bee species that can bear the cold weather and will find sustenance in your winter flowers.
2. Go pesticide-free
The chemicals in common pesticides are harmful to bees and should be avoided. Use organic fertilizer and stay away from toxic weed killers.
3. Plant single petaled flowers & avoid hybridized varieties
Flowers that have a single row of petals generally contain much more nectar than those with multiple layers of petals. See here for a list of some of the best bee-friendly flower types.
4. Plant bee-friendly fruits & herbs
You can plant herbs, fruits and vegetables in addition to flowers, as many of them are rich in nectar as well. Not to mention there is nothing better than using your own oregano, rosemary and thyme in your cooking! Flowering veggies such as zucchini are bees’ favorites as well as sweet berries in the summer.
5. Designate a place for them to drink
Bees appreciate a place to gather and drink, especially in the summer. You can simply put out a bowl or dish full of water on the balcony and they will drink from it.
Many people are afraid of bees. But it’s important to know that unlike wasps, bees are very unlikely to sting or bite you—just as long as you don’t bother them.
By taking the time to create a bee hangout on your balcony, you are doing the environment a big favor. What is more, you get to enjoy a vibrant, fresh-smelling and elegant retreat every time you step outside. So start planting today!
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