Our nation's honeybees are under threat from loss of habitat, climate change, pesticides and disease. Here are a few ideas that we can all do to help the honeybees. Afterall, our food supply depends upon it.
1. Plant pollinator friendly plants and flowers in your garden.
Here are some flowers and herbs that we like:
- Aster In early summer to fall, butterflies often sun as they sip on these daisylike blooms. Perennial; full sun.
- Butterfly bush Slender cones of flowers in spring and summer. Evergreen or deciduous; sun to light shade.
- Fennel Airy umbrellas of yellow florets in summer also attract bees. Annual or perennial; full sun.
- Lantana Tiny flowers in tight clusters all year in mild climates. Evergreen shrub (annual in colder climate); full sun.
- Bee balm Clusters of long-tubed flowers in summer also attract hummingbirds. Perennial; sun, or light shade in hottest climates.
- Borage Star-shaped flowers appear in summer. Annual; sun or partial shade.
- Oregano Draws bees and hummingbirds as long as you let the plants flower. Perennial herb; sun or partial shade.
- Sunflower Bright and bold, they’re beacons for honeybees. Be sure to choose pollen-bearing varieties. Annual; full sun.
- Sweet alyssum Honey-scented blooms are, of course, a natural for bees. Annual; full sun or light shade.
- Alstroemeria Summer blossoms are great for bouquets, but leave a few on the plant for hummingbirds. Perennial; sun (afternoon shade in hot climates).
- Salvia Among our favorites, pineapple sage (S. elegans) produces red blooms in early fall and S. ‘Indigo Spires’, deep blue in summer; both are perennials. Sun.
- Lavender Fragrant flowers all year in mild climates. Evergreen shrub (annual in colder climates).
- Rudbeckia Flowers in shades of yellow, bronze, and deep red; most have knobby brown centers. Short-lived perennial or biennial.
- Pincushion flower Blue, pink, or white Scabiosa flowers resemble pincushions filled with needles. Annuals and perennials.
- Coneflower The daisylike blossoms of Echinacea (a.k.a. coneflowers), in pinks, yellows, oranges, or white, have domed centers. Perennial.
- Yarrow Achillea clusters of yellow, salmon, lavender, red, or white make ideal landing pads for butterflies. Perennial.
2. Minimize or eliminate your use of lawn and garden pesticides and herbicides. Natural alternatives and recipes are available on the internet.
3. Support local beekeepers by purchasing their products. This supports your local ecosystem.
4. Consider donating to non-profit groups that are currently involved in honeybee research.