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Helping The Bees

Here are some helpful tips on ways that you can make your garden spaces beneficial for our local wild bees! 

These ideas came from "The Bees in Your Backyard" by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril. You can buy your own copy here

Building Habitat

Many species of wild bees are ground nesters. Different species will prefer different types of habitat substrates, but the most important thing is that it remains undisturbed. They don't want their hard work to be brushed away by a lawn mower or a playful dog! Some bees like grass lawns and others prefer different soils. 

A helpful tip is to leave the empty areas in your flower beds un-mulched. Having these bare areas of soil are useful for the bees, and these areas are low traffic areas to people and pets! If you want to put something down between your flowers, some people suggest a loose, sandy soil. 

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Providing Food 

Bees eat both nectar and pollen from the flowers they visit. They need the nectar for carbohydrates and eat some pollen for proteins and other nutrients. This is why early flowering species of flowers are particularly important for bees. Some queens, and newly hatched bees, are waking up and they're hungry. 

No Mow May

There has been a "No Mow May" movement for a few years, where you try to not mow your lawn for the month of May. This is to allow dandelions time to grow, and bees to visit them. This is a wonderful way to help bees, however sometimes the lawn just gets too long! If you do choose to mow your lawn in May, its recommended to mow at a higher setting, allowing some of the dandelions to pop back up! Dandelions are one of the few very abundant, early flowering species found in our area, and are essential early sources of food for the wild bees. 

Local Flowers

These flowers are beneficial to both specialist and generalist bees in the Maritimes. Don't be intimidated to start a bee garden. Bees will come to anything that flowers, so start small. Additionally, many of the vegetables grown in this area are already bee friendly, so you may have a head start on your bee garden. 

To attract the most bees of different genera, plant different types of flowers. Mix it up between flowering time, colour, and shapes. Also, bees like it when there are clusters of flowers all together, so planting in a pot is preferable than planting in linear rows. 

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