We depend on honey bees and other pollinating insects to pollinate many of our fruit and vegetable crops. They also work their magic in natural systems, helping maintain species diversity and a healthy ecosystem. Providing our native bees and other pollinators with food sources and nesting sites helps to ensure adequate populations.
A few simple ways you can help
- Maintain biodiverse natural areas with a variety of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
- Try to keep invasive plants out, otherwise they displace valuable native species.
- Plant a variety of flowering plants in your garden and landscape to serve as pollen and nectar sources from early spring through the fall.
- Minimize use of pesticides, carefully follow label directions and precautions, and avoid those that are toxic or harmful to bees and other pollinators.
- Don't be too tidy. Leave hollow stems of your perennials and things like raspberries standing for solitary bees to use for raising their young in the spring. Some native bees like to nest in cracks and crevices in dead wood, woodpiles, stone walls, and yes, even old rodent nests.
- If you lack natural nesting sites, you can put out bee blocks or build a bee hotel from recycled materials.
- Ground nesting bees, including bumble bees, build nests underground in patches of bare soil, preferably in the sun. Leave some bare soil with no mulch at the garden's edge and try not to disturb it if you observe bees entering and exiting there. Watch video
- Learn more about our native bees and pollinators. They are different from yellow jackets and wasps and generally do not sting or threaten humans.