Interested in additional ways you can help? Find out how below.
Grow a variety of plants that together will bloom all season long. We strongly recommend the Xerces Society’s plant lists for region specific plant recommendations.
Pay attention to layout and think beyond just flower gardens. Planting in large groupings makes it easier for bees to find and pollinate your blossoms. Some plants, like raspberries and blackberries, provide not only an abundance of pollen and nectar, but delicious produce as well. Using multitasking plants are great for limited spaces and provide motivation!
Participate in the Great Sunflower Project and join over 100,000 citizen scientists across North America and collect samples to help San Francisco State University entomologists understand the impact of struggling bee populations.
Plant Lemon Queen sunflowers and help collect decisive data. Get free Lemon Queen sunflower seeds by visiting our homepage. Add an item to your cart to see the option “Add a free packet” or click “What’s the buzz” for directions for free seeds without ordering.
You can start sowing Lemon Queen sunflower seeds 1-2 weeks after last Spring frost and until 3 months before the Autumn frost. Lemon Queen sunflowers live for approximately 90 days. Plant seeds ½” deep, 12-18” apart. The sunflowers bloom mid to late into the growing season, grow 5-8’ tall, and have a 6’ spread.
Pesticides are chemicals or agents that kill undesirable insects, plants, and other organisms and can cause additional damage. They can wreck havoc on bees, cause harm to people, and pollute the environment. Crop rotation, polycultures, and trap crops are safe and effective pesticide alternatives.
Organic food and fibers are grown without pesticides. Buying organic allows farmers to continue growing their crops sustainably.
Many plants and seeds purchased from department stores are heavily coated with pesticides as these plants lack the restrictions imposed on food crops. Buy seeds and plants from sources that do not use pesticides. Organically grown seeds yield plants better situated to thrive in organic environments.
Fear of bees is common due to their stinger, but bees look for nectar, pollen, and water—not trouble. Help reassure friends that are fearful of bees. It’s hard to care when you fear.
Bees rarely sting when foraging, and since stinging can kill the bee, they use this defense sparingly and typically in a desperate act of sacrifice to defend their colony. Leave a bee alone, and they’ll leave you alone.
Those with allergies or phobias might avoid wearing bright colors and floral scents that pique bees’ curiosity.
Start your own beehive or petition for that right if any laws prevent neighborhood beekeeping. Local beekeeping associations often offer classes to help educate new beekeepers. If starting a honey bee hive is unrealistic, consider installing a low-maintenance mason bee house.
Shop at local farmers markets and buy honey from your community beekeepers. Local beekeepers are generally more concerned for their bees’ welfare and want to sustainably keep their bees happy and healthy. Buying local enables your beekeepers to continue helping bees in your community.
Bees need water as much as they need pollen and nectar. Fill a shallow basin like a bird bath with water and rocks for bees to crawl on to and access the water without drowning. Avoid creating mosquito breeding grounds by using a fountain to move water or by overfilling the basin periodically when replenishing to cause any mosquito larvae to float over the edge.
Grow clover with grass. Clover is a great companion to nitrogen-hungry grass as it enriches the soil with this nutrient; together they help provide a lush, drought-resistant lawn. Traditionally grown together until the 1950s, clover was branded a weed when new pesticides, targeting bee-loving dandelions, could not be formulated to avoid killing it. Clover and grass grown together without pesticides and mowed less frequently to allow the clover to flower convert barren lawns into bee refuges.
Consider ditching the lawn entirely and replace it with a tiny, low-maintenance, wildflower meadow. The Xerces Society provides a wildflower meadow establishment guide that will show you each step. This is the same guide we use for our habitat restoration projects.
Contact your local authorities to encourage the planting of bee-friendly flowers in pubic gardens, parks, building landscapes, roundabouts, and medians. Embracing and highlighting native flowers in these public spaces spotlight the uniqueness of your community.
Guerrilla gardeners plant on empty or abandoned land. Throwing “seed bombs” made from clay, wet compost, and seed is a popular tactic. The mixture is formed into balls which are discretely thrown into inaccessible places such as fenced empty lots or road medians. Although we can not officially sanction guerrilla gardening, this method can be a fast way to have a large impact for your community bees, especially when seed bombs are made using seeds from native, pollinator friendly plants.
Bee swarms are a natural process to create new colonies from overcrowded ones. Although unnerving, swarms are usually docile and present little danger unless they are disturbed or provoked. Never call an exterminator to kill a swarm or attempt to spray any chemicals on a colony if they are too close for comfort. Call your local beekeeping association instead to safely collect and rehome the bees.
Bees can get overheated and dehydrated. Save an overworked bee by preparing a small vessel, such as a spoon or bottle cap, with sugar dissolved in water. Set the vessel next to the bee and give them space.
If you support pollinator habitat restoration, please tell to your friends, family, and coworkers about us and share our site on Facebook. We also greatly appreciate the mentions and links our supporters make in the websites and newsletters they manage.