While bees hopping from one flower to another is picturesque to watch, having bees disturbing a backyard barbecue certainly isn’t. They may seem like pesky creatures to get rid of, but there are quite a few things you may not know about bees. Especially the impact they have on our livelihood.
The main purpose of bees, particularly honey bees, is to help pollinate the plants around them. According to the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University, pollinators (such as bees) help to fertilize plants, which results in “the formation of seeds and the fruit surrounding seeds.” Pollinators are necessary for three-quarters of our major food crops, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. An estimated 300,000 species of plants need pollinators. That’s around 80 to 95 percent of plant species. Without pollinators, the number of crops we have will take a serious hit.
Other pollinators can help out with this process including butterflies, beetles, and flies. Even some birds and bats can be pollinators. However, bees of various species are known for being natural pollinators for plants.
Unfortunately, for years there has been an alarming decline of bees around the globe. The University of Vermont published a study stating that 23 percent of the wild bee population declined between 2008 and 2013. 139 counties in parts of California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, west Texas and the Mississippi River valley have taken the worst hit in wild bee declines. Since 39 percent of U.S. croplands rely on pollinators for their crop (including those beloved apple orchards and pumpkin patches in the fall), we are facing a serious threat.
By taking care of the bees, our world is able to benefit in terms of agricultural income and nutritious food supply. You may not be able to make a huge change on an industrial level, but as someone with a landscape of your own, there are some ways you can help save the bees.
First, don’t kill them. Leave them be—we need them.
Second, if you’re looking for a way to deter them from your patio, why not build or buy a beehive and set it up farther away from the patio? This beehive won’t produce honey or beeswax for you to use, but it does help to give native bees a place to congregate.
Lastly, why not add the plants they like to your landscape? These bee-friendly plants will be so attractive to those bees, that they may not even notice all the fun you’re having on the patio.