Put the buzz back in your neighbourhood
More people are learning to appreciate the crucial work bees do in the food chain, writes NZ Gardener deputy editor
Did you know that a third of the food we eat relies on pollination by bees? The humble bee is estimated to contribute a whopping $5 billion a year to the national economy. Yet numbers continue to decline at an alarming rate all over the world.
The repercussions of a population decline are huge. If bees die out, so will humans. But bees need us as much as we need them in order to thrive and survive. And we haven’t made it easy for them lately.
Natural sources of nectar and pollen are disappearing as our neighbourhoods become more built-up, leaving bees exhausted, vulnerable and hungry.
Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste says many Kiwi gardeners use pesticides that may be bad for bees, and our love of lowmaintenance gardens lacking flowers hasn’t helped either. birdbath or pop a saucer of water on your window ledge.
Blue, purple, white and yellow flowers are favourites for bees – they can’t see the colour red! Single blooms make landing and retrieving nectar much easier too.
Plant flowers, shrubs and even vegetables in clumps to create a stronger visual for bees – it’s a bit like a billboard proclaiming, ‘there’s lots of food over here!’
A more relaxed approach to gardening helps too. Leave your basil to flower and avoid mowing your lawns too often to give clover and dandelions a chance to grow.
Choose a range of plants that flower throughout the year. It’s important that bees are fed all year round, not just in spring.
Neighbourly and NZ Gardener would love to hear how you get on. Email email@example.com to tell us where you’ve sown your wildflower seeds and we’ll mark it on our Plan Bee map. Come on, let’s get every neighbourhood in New Zealand buzzing!
Natural sources of pollination are disappearing across the world.