6 Ways to Support Local Pollinators
There are many ways to support local bees without getting into beekeeping. Here are a few ways you can do it...
1. Plant pollinator-friendly plants and stop using pesticides
This is one of the easiest ways to get involved. Here in NYC, green space is limited and actually owning a yard is not a possibility for most. That's where potted plants and container gardens come in. You can get seeds from your local home improvement store or even order them online. Most seed suppliers have pollinator mixes or can guide you to the best plants for local bees. Finally, instead of using pesticides or fertilizers, think about using compost and researching natural remedies for any disease/pests your plants may contract. Many items in your pantry can be used to deter pests.
2. Build a bee hotel
Honey bees aren't the only local bees out there. Most species of bee are solitary and live in holes in wood or the ground. Giving these bees a home will not only help them out, but it will attract pollinators to your plants and likely give them a boost. Check out these Bee Hotel Plans from the National Geographic Society.
3. Support your local beekeeper
Most beekeepers and small apiaries don't keep bees to get rich. They do it to have a positive impact on the environment and on society. In fact, if you were to take a look at a beekeeper's books, you'd find that most if not all of the revenue they generate goes right back into caring for their bees. Supporting your local beekeeper does a few things.
- Keep money in your local economy, just as you do when you support other types of local small businesses.
- Ensure a sustainable positive impact on the environment in your neighborhood and the surrounding area, not to mention curbing pollution by using a product that might have only traveled a few miles as opposed to a few hundred or a few thousand miles.
- Get the best of your local flora which can be healthier and more beneficial than general commercial honey. You also know exactly what you're putting in your body, which is a luxury you don't get with the commercial brands on the grocery store shelf.
4. Donate to charity / Buy from bee-friendly businesses
When you can't support a local beekeeper directly, the next best thing is to support a charitable organization focused on helping pollinators. A simple google search will yield some great bee conservation organizations. We have a few favorites of our own:
There are also plenty of small businesses out there who donate proceeds to bee-friendly and environmental causes. Bee sure to seek them out when making purchases.
5. Volunteer with and support a local bee club
If you want to take the next step without owning your own hives, this is for you. Most every city has a bee club or two. Find yours and see how you can get involved. You can usually purchase a membership or even offer to volunteer. Most organizations are grateful for the extra help and are happy to share their knowledge. This is a great way to dip your toe in before committing to a full investment in bees as well as find mentors and ask questions.
6. Sponsor A Hive
For a more personal connection to the bees, you might consider sponsoring a hive. Most apiaries, including our own, offer some form of hive sponsorship or adoption. This goes a VERY long way in helping beekeepers manage their bee stock and gives you the chance to have a first-hand experience with the bees, not to mention other benefits like a share of the honey.