Bee pos­i­tive

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Gardening -

CRE­AT­ING a beefriendly gar­den is not only easy and re­ward­ing but helps keep our food sources strong.

UWA bee ex­pert Liz Bar­bour gives us the buzz on how to en­sure our busy lit­tle black and yel­low friends re­main healthy and ac­tive.

Why should we help pro­tect bees?

Bees pol­li­nate one sixth of flow­er­ing plants world-wide and help pro­duce a third of what we eat, but un­for­tu­nately over the past few decades there has been a dra­matic de­cline in global bee pop­u­la­tions.

The last re­port on bee­keep­ing in­dus­try high­lighted how healthy our bees are in WA.

But, we can’t be com­pla­cent.

Why do bees need our help?

Chem­i­cal in­sect con­trol can kill bees if they are in the area when spray­ing oc­curs. Other chem­i­cals are af­fect­ing the di­rec­tional abil­ity of the bee and hence they do not find their way back to the hive and die.

With bee do­mes­ti­ca­tion and mov­ing hives in large numbers, there is a higher risk of dis­ease, and its spread.

Cli­mate change and fires are dam­ag­ing food sources for bees; depend­ing on the fe­roc­ity, fire can de­stroy a bee food source for up to seven years.

Tips for cre­at­ing a bee-friendly gar­den

■ Plant a eu­ca­lypt tree if you have space.

■ Grow pea-type (legumes) flow­ers and daisy-type flow­ers .

■ Add na­tives such as banksias, aca­cias and bot­tle brushes.

■ In­clude fresh wa­ter: a pond, foun­tain, or bee bath.

■ Check there are no bees in the area be­fore us­ing gar­den chem­i­cals.

A health bee pop­u­la­tion has ben­e­fits for all of so­ci­ety.

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