15 Plants You Can Grow to Help Save Bees
Spring is here! What better time to think about how to save the bees?
We need those fuzzy, buzzy creatures—we have them (and other pollinators) to thank for a third of every bite we take!
And they need us (unless we’re wielding a pesticide, of course).
Bee populations have been plummeting, thanks to a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which means many foods (and wild plants) are at risk.
In the United States alone, more than 25 percent of the managed honey bee population has disappeared since 1990. Bees are one of a myriad of other animals, including birds, bats, beetles, and butterflies, called pollinators. Pollinators transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant so it can grow and produce food. Cross-pollination helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off. (Source: NRDC Bee Facts)
In the last half decade alone 30 percent of the national bee population has disappeared and nearly a third of all bee colonies in the U.S. have perished. A study last year found 35 pesticides and fungicides, some at lethal doses, in the pollen collected from bees that were used to pollinate food crops in five U.S. states. Bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were found to be three times as likely to be infected by a parasite linked to colony collapse.
You can learn more about bees by listening to the latest Green Divas Radio Show featuring Maryam Henein, director of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.
15 plants that can help save the bees:
One way to help is to increase the number of bees and other pollinators in your area by including plants that provide essential habitat. Here are 15 that can be grown in most areas of the U.S., although it’s ideal to plant native plants (see “important tips” at the end of the list).
1. Lavandula spp. (Lavender)
2. Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
3. Salvia spp. (Sage)
4. Echinacea spp. (Coneflower)
5. Helianthus spp. (Sunflower)
6. Cercis spp. (Redbud)
7. Nepeta spp. (Catnip)
8. Penstemon spp. (Penstemon)
9. Stachys spp. (Lamb’s ears)
10. Verbena spp. (Verbena)
11. Phacelia spp. (Bells or Phacelia)
12. Aster spp. (Aster)
13. Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan)
14. Origanum spp. (Oregano)
15. Achilliea millefolium (Yarrow)
Important tips: It’s best to plant native plants. Click here to find a native plant nursery in your area. Click here to download the BeeSmart app, which will guide you in selecting plants for pollinators specific to your area. Purchase plants or seeds that haven’t been treated in pesticides, which can kill the bees.
Urge the EPA to refuse to approve any insecticides unless scientists confirm they present no threat to bees and other pollinators. Click here to sign the Care2 petition.
Join the Beevolution!
Education is key. For every $50 donated to the Save the Honeybee Foundation, one school will be able to receive a copy of Vanishing of the Bees for free.
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Watch the Vanishing of the Bees trailer on the next page: