I became interested in the plight of bees after watching a 60 minutes segment on them a while back. I’ve done a lot of research on them and wrote something for work about them. Thanks to commenter Roberto, I see that there is a feature article on bees in the Houston Chronicle this evening.
It gives some good advice, though it doesn’t go into as much depth about how threatened they are as I would have liked.
Here’s some good tips from the article:
• Plant a variety so blooms are available throughout the year. Plant close groups of five or more.
• Plant natives, four times more likely to attract pollinators, experts say.
• Plant blue, purple and yellow flowers.
• Water carefully to avoid washing the nectar from the blooms.
• Provide shallow pools of water for drinking.
• Provide shelter. if you aren’t a beekeeper hobbyist, an overturned flower pot with a drainage hole can provide shelter for a solitary type. A bundle of bamboo culms will offer a nesting site for stem dwellers. The Xerces Society suggests creating a nest from a wood block at least 8 inches tall with a series of drilled holes about 3/8 inch in diameter and 3 to 4 inches deep. Provide a sunny area of undisturbed soil for soil nesters.
• Avoid pesticides.
The plant in my yard that attracts the most bees I originally bought because it was supposed to attract butterflies. On warm summer afternoons, that bush is thick with pollinating honeybees, and even though I am allergic to insect bites, I have never worried about them. They just go about their business, even when I trim their bush.
Until recently, I had Mexican heather growing in the ditch. (The city came by one day and indiscriminately mowed down the ditches — I blame my crazy neighbor.) Before that, the honeybees really liked those plants, too, so I will probably replace them, but relocate them.