Bees are crucial to food security, with many of the world’s main food crops pollinated by them. Australia has honey bees, imported not long after colonization, but also around 2000 species of native bees, the majority of which are solitary bees, rather than live in hives. These are vital in pollinating our Australian native plants or form a key part of our ecosystem.
As gardeners, your role is vital. Not only can you include a variety of nectar rich plants in your yard and even balcony, but you can also provide a home by including a bee hotel somewhere at your place. You can check out our video here. Shallow bowls of water with pebbles and a stick in them, to make sure bees have access to clean water and don’t drown. Probably the most important thing you can do is be mindful of the chemicals you use and when they are applied. They should NEVER be used when bees are foraging, and systemic poisons should not be used when plants are in flower. Even simple things like mowing your grass in the evening after bees have ‘gone to bed’ will help, and allowing the clover in your lawn to flower.
If you can, buy local honey and honey products that supports your local bee keepers. Always buy Australian made honey rather than imported honey. If you want to have a hive of your own, contact your local bee keepers association and join; they will guide you through the intricacies of having your own apiary. More broadly, supporting farmers using sustainable farming practices also helps bees, as these support biodiversity.