Want Your Bees to Bee-Happy? Try These Three Tips
March 2022. By Oscar Ortega: Well-designed and built gardens become effective ecosystems – with good care. If you’ve already designed and built a bee habitat, here are a few things to do to keep it buzzing. (Keep reading! You might bee relieved – two-thirds of these tips are all about bee-ing chill!)
Let It Bee
Our desire for perfection can make bee-perfect homes elusive. Some bees will nest in piles of leaves, others in existing holes in soil or wood – including fences. Patching over every hole and smoothing or removing every leaf makes life hard for a bee.
Bonus: When we let bee-havens be, it can relax us too. While it’s important to be vigilant about leaf litter and dry branches that collect against your home, they can serve both bees and foliage (as mulch) in the garden.
When aphids appear, ladybugs dine with delight. Mulch fertilizes foliage as it decays. When we disturb this balanced cycle-of-life with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, we can inadvertently harm bees or the habitat they need to survive.
Bonus: Patience in the garden pays so many dividends! It is essential to monarch health, minimizes maintenance, and can also save money.
Okay, not really! Just recognize that bees will always be as busy as… bees. If you are of a similar mindset, set up a project for your carpenters! Giving them a good project will keep them from repurposing your fence, siding or firewood.
Don’t have a native garden yet? You can still apply these tips to bee-happy!
LA Bee Garden Palette
Sources and Resources
Las Pilots Nursery: Plants to Attract Native Bees
SF Gate: Carpenter Bee Holes in Fences
UC Davis Arboretum: Learn More About California Native Beess
USDA: Native Bee Benefits
Xerces Society: Enhancing Nest Sites for Native Bee Crop Pollinators