There has been a growing concern for the well-being of pollinators such as honeybees. Many of these helpful creatures face the real threat of becoming endangered (or worse). Given the important role they play in the agricultural and food industries, it is about time that people pay attention to this issue.
Farmers big and small can play a role in helping pollinators. Believe it or not, there are many simple changes to help these creatures keep fighting. Read below to learn more about how farmers can help pollinators.
Understand Native Bees and their Requirements
The first step to helping pollinators is understanding their basic requirements – and meeting them. All bees need a source of food, which is pollen and nectar. They collect pollen and nectar from the flowers all around them. Naturally, this means one of the best ways to help bees is by creating more opportunities for them to find flowers. Plant more flowers, let your crops bloom and keep the bees in mind when designing a garden.
Next, bees require some form of shelter. Most people picture a beehive when they think of shelter for these critters, but their needs change based on the species. For example, wood-nesting bees prefer to live in little tunnels inside dead trees. Meanwhile, bumblebees will happily take over any small abandoned space, such as a burrow.
To best provide the resources needed for your local bees, it is beneficial first to identify them. Plenty of online guides are available to help with identification. Additionally, there may be a local beekeeper willing to lend their expertise.
Alterations and Planning
Once a farmer knows what type of pollinators can be found on their farm, it is time to make some alterations. Some of these changes should be pretty obvious, as we’ve already briefly touched upon them.
Create a farming plan with bees in mind, allowing for more blooms and blossoms. Keep in mind the bee variety you have and what they might appreciate the most. Additionally, allowing crops to bolt (allowing them to follow) is a simple way to help bees.
Finally, it is critical to remember that pollinators survive off the plants they harvest from. They are susceptible to what humans apply to those plants. Pesticides pose a real threat to bees. Instead of using pesticides, consider organic alternatives that are safer for bees. Or find a balance between the need to protect plants and protect bees. There are many experts out there willing to advise on this subject.