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Protecting Our Precious Pollinators
Protecting Our Precious Pollinators Image

The bees are dying at an alarming rate! 

 

This rallying cry has been making waves throughout the country for years now and is still extremely relevant today. Rising temperatures, invasive plant species, and human spread have all decimated bee populations over the years. Bumblebees, for example, have seen their population decline by over 50 percent in North America. 

 

While it’s easy to see the doom and gloom, it’s also important to note that not all bee populations are declining and there are a TON of things that we can do in our homes to help reverse the negative trends and bring back our most precious pollinators. In honor of World Bee Day on May 20, we’ve compiled four useful tips and tricks that you can implement in your home today to help keep the bees buzzing. So keep reading and learn what you can do to help California’s 1500 native bee species thrive!

 

Plant Native Plants

This is the most obvious, but also the most important thing that you can do to help native bee populations succeed. Bees are pollinators, meaning that they use the nectar and pollen from flowering plants as a food source and in return they spread the pollen from plant to plant, helping native plants reproduce. 

 

If you’re asking yourself why does it matter if the plants are native or not? Don’t they all have nectar and pollen? Well, think about the foods that you eat. When you try unique foods for the first time your stomach may not react the same way it does with foods that you eat all the time. We can get sick from eating foods that our bodies aren’t used to. The same goes for bees. 

 

Keep scrolling to the bottom to see a list of bee-friendly native plant species.

 

Provide Cover and Water

Bees are a lot more like people than you might think. Just as we need a break from the midday sun, so do bees. They can easily overheat, so it is important to provide plenty of shade and ground cover in your yard. This will give them a break in between feeding and allow them to cool down.

 

Along the same lines, bees can get dehydrated when they’re out in the heat all day without a nearby water source. Shallow dishes of water or fountains with pebbles for bees to sit on are excellent sources of hydration for our busy buzzers. Just be sure that the water isn’t too deep or you risk them drowning.

 

Add Shelter for Solitary Bees

Most people tend to think of bees as a part of a hive, where there is a queen and all of her workers. While many bee species operate like this, there are also many that are solitary in nature. Solitary bee houses can be found at most garden stores or you can make your own with items lying around your house. 

 

Check out this great resource for making your own solitary bee home today.

 

Keep the Pesticides on the Shelves

Perhaps more than anything else, keep pesticides out of your yard if you want bees to thrive. Our little black and yellow friends have an awful time with pesticides. Even a small amount of exposure can be lethal to an individual bee and if that exposure makes its way to a hive it can destroy the entire colony. 

 

The reasons for not using pesticides far outweigh the benefits that come from them. The more we learn about pesticides and nature, the more we learn that it’s best to keep them out of our gardens and out of nature. 

 

Native Plants to Add to Your Garden

 

Spring Bloom

 

California Poppy

California Gilia

California Phacelia

CA Desert Bluebells

White Sage

Black Sage

California Hedgenettle

 

Summer Bloom

 

California Buckwheat

Coast Buckwheat

Sunflower

Slender Sunflower

Mountain Monardella

Coyote Mint

Germander Sage

Bog Sage

 

For more native plant ideas check out this excellent resource and take a look at our previous article on how to bring other pollinators to your yard in addition to bees.

 

Have any other questions about our native bees? Feel free to contact us at lastormwater@lacity.org.

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