Buzzing in the Garden: 5 Tips for Creating a Habitat for Bees and Other Pollinators
I bet you never thought about the significance of gardens? That without plants, there is essentially no life. One way to “stay sustained” is to create, design, and build a garden. Creating a garden is more than putting seeds in the ground but is cultivating and learning the land and nature of the environment. If you think about it creating a garden is the most sustainable way to help and support the environment. Gardens recreate habitats for bee and other wildlife, as it becomes your backyard ecosystem. The moment you decide to create a garden, you ultimately choose to contribute to the environment and do something bigger than yourself.
- Gather and Plan
Make a Garden Design
Map out what and where you want everything to go! Whether it’s a large garden or you want to organize your window box or planter Gather the supplies you’ll need once you are ready to bring your vision to life.
o Soil fertilizer and Topsoil
o Mulch or Compost
o Shovel and Spade
o Garden Hose
o Don’t Forget! Gloves, hat, and sunblock
- What Goes in the Garden?
Research what flowers, herbs, and vegetables you would like in your garden, but keep in mind how they support bees, other wildlife, and you! The more biodiversity in your garden the better! Bee tip: Flowers with single tops like marigolds are perfect for bee foraging because they provide more nectar and better access to pollen.
Group same plants together to ensure the garden attracts plenty of pollinators. But, If you don’t have a lot of space, planting pollinator attractive flowers and herbs in a planter or window box will also provide a successful foraging habitat.
Choose native plants that attract bees and have long blooming cycles.
- What are Native Species, Non-Native Species, and Invasive species?
When deciding what to plant in any garden or just simply being environmentally aware it is important to know what distinguishes native, non-native, and invasive species:
Native Species- an organism that is indigenous, or native, to a particular area or region.
The Sierra Club states “Plants that are native to our area provide homes for our native insects and food for our native birds and mammals; they are well adapted to our soil and climate, requiring less maintenance than plants imported from foreign countries.”
Non-Native species- are accidently or intentionally introduced to an area or region by humans or human activity. Non-native species don’t cause an environmental or economically impact. However, It is crucial to note the distinction between non-native plant species and invasive species which is: invasive species disrupt the natural functions and processes of native ecosystems creating environmental damage. Non-native species do not.
Q: Which non-native species was a gift to the United States? Hint: it Blossoms every year around the same time
Invasive Species – are organisms that are not indigenous, or native, to a particular area or region. Invasive species can cause great economic and environmental harm to the new area.
“Invasive species are a major threat to our environment because they can change an entire habitat, place ecosystems at risk, crowd out or replace native species and damage human enterprise -- costing the economy millions of dollars.” Sierra Club
- Bee-sic Necessities: Shelter & Water
One way to encourage pollinators to visit your garden is by having nesting sites. A nesting site is a place chosen by a bee or is human-made for building its nest. An undisturbed habitat, where the insect lifecycle ends and begins that provides protection and stored food for their offspring. To create a nest for native bees that like to burrow into the ground leave an open patch of bare. You can also build or buy a bee house for bee nesting.
It is vital to provide a reliable location for bees and other pollinators to access fresh, clean water. Fill a small bowl of water with marbles, glass stones, or twigs for bees to land on as they drink. Just make sure to maintain and refill the bowl with fresh water
- Implement Sustainable Garden Practices
Do not use insecticides, pesticides, or chemicals in your garden; these are fatal to pollinators and other insects.
Do plant native plants and create a diverse garden, so you invite populations of insects and wildlife like ladybugs, praying mantis, and songbirds that naturally control pests and maintain balance in the garden.