Humankind has been growing crops and plants for as long as we can remember, just trying to survive. And that is not about to stop. We will always need to be fed, clothed, and have shelter. All of which are provided by plants that grow around us. Harvest essentials include the corn in our bellies to the cotton that is sewn into garments and trees that are harvested for homes.
And as we use up the current supply of grown materials, it is important to plant more so that we can have supplies for later. But those plants and crops that we farm for ourselves and others will not get very far if they are not able to be pollinated. It is crucial for their species as well as ours.
Bees and Other Pollinators
Between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants need help with pollination. When we say flowers, we are not simply talking about daisies and wildflowers. Over 180,000 species of plants and more than 1200 crops require pollination. There are countless species of plants that flower from dogwoods and fruit trees to tomatoes, squash, and coffee. About 75% of all commercially grown crops are included in this. That is a lot of labor needed.
Luckily, nature has provided. Creatures such as bats, birds, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, bees, small mammals, and wasps all help in the pollination process. Most of these animals are after the nectar and pollen that the plant provides but in moving from one plant to another they are inadvertently pollinating the plants. This allows the plants to bear fruit and multiply. It allows them to spread their seeds and ensure the survival of their species.
For the animals doing the work, the process offers them food for the short term and a surviving ecosystem in the long run. If these helpful creatures suddenly stopped completing this task, can you imagine what would happen? Plants the world over would cease to exist causing a domino effect of food shortages until there was nothing left.
These plants not only provide food, but they also provide shelter, clean the air, stabilize the earth and protect it from natural disasters and severe weather. Suffice it to say that these small pollinators play a huge role in our world and we can not live without them.
Will Bees Help Increase my Harvest?
Bees will absolutely increase your harvest essentials. It is estimated that bees are responsible for about 80% of all pollination throughout the world. It is for this reason that they are called the world's best pollinators. They were created for it even if they do not understand they are doing it. Bees are naturally fuzzy, and they carry an electrostatic charge.
This helps in their pollination efforts as well as the fact that they have certain body parts that are designed to allow them to carry pollen from place to place. These body parts may differ in name, location and all around design based on the species. Bees collect pollen and nectar both for their young and for themselves. The pollen found on flowers easily sticks to their bodies so that they can carry it back to the nest or hive with them.
However, as they travel from flower to flower, some of the already collected pollen falls off onto other flowers. This then pollinates the flowers.
It has been proven that bees can do a better job pollinating than most other forms of pollination. And the more native the bee, the better job it does. Native bees that pollinate native plants are more adapted to do so. Specific types of bees are specialized in pollinated certain types of plants. This makes them better and more efficient at it. For example, the bumblebee is larger than most bees and therefore is perfectly suited to pollinate tomatoes.
Smaller bees can't always get the job done. It has been proven the bigger bee's buzzing shakes lose more pollen than smaller bees and the wind alone can. You will find that if you have plenty of bees in your garden, your blooms will be bigger, your strawberries more uniform and not misshapen, and your pumpkins will be much larger. It is estimated that the work of bees has contributed one in three bites of food and drink. Get them in your garden and see what they can do for you.
Using Harvest Essentials to Attract Bees to my Garden?
There are several things you can do to attract bees to your garden. And usually the simpler, the better. You don't have to go out and get a bunch of supplies to start your beehive. If you are going to have bees living on your property, they need a place to live. Most of the native bees in your area are solitary bees, meaning that they live alone. One female makes a nest to raise her young in on her own.
She may be in close proximity to other bees doing the same, but they are not a colony. She chooses the place simply because she thinks it will be a good spot for her eggs. She cares little if she has neighbors or not.
For about 70% of native bee species that means holes in the ground. For this, all they need is some bare ground. In your garden, whether it is a vegetable garden or one that boasts flowers, leave an area that is untilled. Don't fill every inch of ground with plants. These areas of bare ground will soon be filled with minuscule holes where female bees will lay their eggs. Some species of ground-nesting bees prefer sunny south-facing slopes, others like a more vertical hill.
The other 30% of bees that are most likely native to your region are what are wood-nesting bees. These bees choose to make their nests in wood rather than dirt. Sometimes they make their nests, sometimes that use a hole that was once used by a beetle or other small insects. They will use dead trees, rotting logs or even semi-hollow twigs and stems for house their nests and eggs.
If you already have some natural deadfall of trees and the like around your property, chances are there are already bees housed there. If not, they are simple to recreate. You can simply use a log as a substitute. Drill some holes in it that are different sizes for different species of bees at a slight upward angle to avoid them being filled with water. Voila. You now have a wood nesting bee habitat. You could use fence poles or any kind of untreated wood.
Whether you are building a wooden home for your bees or just leaving some bare ground for them, it is important to note that their homes need to be not too far from flowering plants of some kind. They will be laying eggs in their nests and then forage for pollen to bring home for the eggs as well as pollen and nectar for themselves. The farther away the flowers are to them the more effort they have to exert to feed themselves and their young. Bees usually prefer their nests to be within 1000 feet or so of harvest essentials flowers.
Planting flowering species is one of the best things to do to attract bees to your garden. Just remember to go native. Do not waste your time and money on expensive exotic plants. The bees won't use them. Native bees have evolved right alongside native plants. Therefore, you know that these plants already naturally attract the bees. They also prefer a wide variety of harvest essentials.
Instead of planting a field or garden with only a couple kinds of flowers, invest in a more diverse collection. This also helps to feed them all year long and not just a couple weeks out of the year. By staggering the blooming seasons of your plants, you will ensure that your garden blooms all summer long and into the fall as well.
So if you are going to have a garden, whether it's just made up of flowers and shrubs or it holds harvest essentials like vegetables and herbs as well, bees will be a major asset to it. They are the best at what they do. Before you know it, you will have more blooms, bigger harvest essential crop yields, and healthier plants all thanks to the bee. With a little attention as to where they set up shop and what flowers they are attracted to you could have a yard buzzing with little helpers.
And don't worry, most of your native bees don't even sting. They are either too small or too docile to cause any damage, and they are generally docile creatures that only sting when being smashed or pinched. In order to change the world you don't have to think big and bold, instead think small and fuzzy. You will be surprised at all these little guys can accomplish. And you will be doing yourself a favor as well as the ecosystem and the world around you.