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Eight Simple Ways to Help Bees Thrive

Bees and their pollination skills are vital to the success of food crops, but their numbers have dwindled in the past few years, according to National Geographic. The threats to the bee population are many, including commercial pesticides, development and destructive mites. Here are some things you can do to save the bees that do so much good.

Use Natural Pest Control

By allen watkin from London, UK (Bug) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By allen watkin from London, UK (Bug) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Even if you aren’t targeting bees when you spray chemical pesticides, the bees are still affected when they land on sprayed areas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends using a homemade organic mix of liquid detergent and vegetable oil to ward off harmful insects, such as white flies and spider mites.

Time Pesticide Application

By Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of what type of pesticide you use, apply it when bees are less active. Spraying in the late evening gives the application a chance to degrade before the bees come back the next day, according to the New Agriculturist.

Buy Organic

By mercedesfromtheeighties (Capay heirloom tomatoes at Slow Food Nation) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By mercedesfromtheeighties (Capay heirloom tomatoes at Slow Food Nation) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the easiest step of all because you can simply help with your wallet. Buying organic food that is grown without the use of commercial pesticides helps protect bees around the world, notes One Green Planet.

Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden

By Ivan2010 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ivan2010 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You and the bees both win when you plant a bee-friendly garden full of blooming flowers. Choose flowers with large centers, such as sunflowers and coneflowers, to give multiple bees a large landing spot.

Purchase Uncontaminated Plants

By heimgruen (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By heimgruen (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When installing your bee-friendly garden, Wired advises making sure that the plants you purchase are not already contaminated with dangerous pesticides. Local nurseries can give you plenty of information about where the plants come from and how they are treated.

Keep a Hive

By Querciabella (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Emilian Robert Vicol from Com. Balanesti, Romania (Open-Bee-Hive_28333-480×360) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bee hives require little effort to keep and they take up only a small amount of space. You can even place a hive or two on a balcony or patio.

Use a Beekeeper to Remove an Unwanted Hive

By Waugsberg (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Querciabella (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you find a hive on your property and you don’t wish to maintain it, avoid using chemicals to kill the bees. Call a local beekeeper who can safely remove the hive to another location.

Celebrate National Honey Bee Day

To raise awareness of the dwindling bee population, the USDA has established the third Saturday of August as National Honey Bee Day. Check out your local celebrations, or host a party of your own and offer specialty honey as the main attraction.

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