It’s time to celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 21-27, with a WesternGardeners.com salute to pollinators. Today we proudly salute bees!
Thanks to the efforts of the Pollinator Partnership, pollinators are being celebrated across the country this week. As part of its mission, the Pollinator Partnership works to protect pollinators–like bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles–through conservation, education and research.
Today we salute the little workhorses of the garden, bees. Gardeners already know that to have a beautiful, productive garden, bees have to like to hang out in it. Especially honey bees.
Honey bees are the best of the insect pollinators and hundreds of fruits and vegetables would disappear if we lost all of our honey bees. But, as many of you already know, our bee populations are in serious trouble. Loss of habitat and use of pesticides are two key reasons why bees are being threatened. Honey bees are also suffering from a mysterious disease called Colony Collapse Disorder. Just this week, researchers identified imported, disease-carrying honeybees as a possible cause of colony collapse.
Plant for our Pollinators
If you’re interested in helping bees, please join us for The Great Sunflower Project.
Even if you don’t sign up for the project, you can still do something nice for the bees in your garden by planting flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. Choose a variety of colors, shapes, and scents, especially blue and violet.
Plant native flowers in clumps of 3-6 plants, instead of planting just one plant. Be sure to use flowers that bloom for long periods of time and combine with plants that overlap in bloom from spring until late fall.
It’s important to avoid planting too many modern hybrids, because they may not have the nectar and pollen that bees need.
Here’s a list of plants bees like:
Bees also need a source of clean, fresh water like a birdbath, water garden, or shallow dish.
The Pollinator Partnership is sponsoring a pollinator photo contest for amateur garden photographers to catch a pollinator in the act of pollinating. Just send an original digital photograph of a bee, butterfly, bat, hummingbird or any other pollinator before October 1 for a chance to win a digital camera. Details available at Pollinator.org.