With the recent enlightenment that bee populations have been on the decline, backyard beekeeping initiatives are on the rise. In addition to the easy access to honey and beeswax, gardeners reap the benefits of an enhanced growing experience.
Bees are noted as being the best in the business when it comes to pollinating. When there are fewer bees, there are fewer plants and flowers. Those plants and flowers are not only found in our own backyards, but also in crop fields. These same fields grow produce that feeds people and animals — animals such as cows that are also considered another food source.
You see where this is going, right? Pollinators are a key factor in food security.
It is a real give-and-take relationship between plants and bees. Plants have the sweet, sugar-filled nectar that bees need for energy while bees carry pollen from one flower to another (cross-pollination) that is vital for flowers to increase seed production.
In addition to humans, many animals (besides Pooh) have an affection for honey. Birds, raccoons, and a variety of insects also utilize honey as a form of nutrition in their diets.
The honey producers themselves are also forms of food. Bees are prey for many birds such as ruby-throated hummingbirds and starlings, while insects such as spiders and praying mantises also find bees to be a delicacy.
Bees make an incredibly beneficial food – honey. There is no arguing the fact that honey is one of nature’s perfect sweeteners, but did you also know that those little bee fellas create sticky goodness that has medical benefits as well?
The creamy white substance high in nutrients found in beehives is generally for the hives royalty – the queen bee. This product can also be used to help with menopause and premenstrual syndrome.
Beeswax is a foundation of many skin care and health products that is sometimes overlooked. Along with topical products, beeswax is also helpful in producing candles, specialty crayons, and reusable food wrap.
If the benefits of bees are enticing but backyard beekeeping is more than you are willing to take on, just try attracting more bees to your garden in general. You will still get all of the benefits of cross-pollination and the increase in plant/flower production without the demands of the queen and honey.
Incorporating plants such as rosemary, clover, marigolds, asters, and milkweed can help attract more bees to your yard.
Have you added bees into your gardening plans in some way? We want to know how! Come in and tell us all you know about being the best host for bees.
If you want to get more buzz on bees or want to learn more about what is happening at our Emerald City, please sign up to join our email list.
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