I love all pollinators. But it is usually much easier to promote help save butterflies than bees.
Neighbors with stingers make people more nervous. We don’t always know how to handle them or how to live with them in our yards and neighborhoods.
I would love to help you if I can.
The best way for me to do this is to get to know the needs and instinctive behaviors of our neighbors. So when you are outside, be aware and pay attention to the details.
I want to respect their needs and their space while feeling safe in my yard and doing my normal activities outside, such as gardening.
If you have any question about bees and butterflies, please feel free to email me and I will help you if I can. The way I help the most is usually in the form of information. “A little knowledge is power,” to quote one person who submitted a question.
His question was about bees coming to his birdbath and how to coexist with them. They didn’t seem happy when she filled the birdbath, and she was a little worried about their increasing numbers and that she might have a problem with them in the near future.
Bees need a source of water, especially in hot weather, to be able to cool their hives. It will be easier for the bees to get water without drowning if stones, glass beads or burlap are added to the birdbath.
The bees return home at night, so the birdbath can be filled as well as other yard activities without their company at night.
Beekeepers normally set up multiple water sources for their hives to reduce the amount of bees visiting other birdbaths and swimming pools. Pool owners can also keep a cover over the pool when not in use to reduce the number of bees and other insects entering their pools.
Like us, pollinators need space to have a safe place to live, clean water and food.
It is easier to get along with our pollinating neighbors when we know and understand their needs.
Learning to set boundaries so that they respect our space and we respect theirs is important. We have to give ourselves room to “be” / “bee”.
Another email I received was about bumblebees in the lawn. Bumblebees normally have their nests underground. If you walk on or near the entrance to the nest, one or more bees will fly near your head and try to warn you.
Most people miss these warnings and notice them when we get bitten.
The best answer is to walk away. Even if you don’t know exactly where the entrance is, walk away and broadcast the situation. Respect their needs and yours. More on bumblebees in my next article.
I appreciate the contributions of pollinators to our food supply and ecosystems.
You can make your garden enjoyable and help feed bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Dr. Lesley Deem is a director and lecturer at the Pollinatarium and the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois. For more information on planning a virtual or in-person visit to the Pollinatarium, email [email protected]