Creating a Buzz: How to Build a Habitat that Supports Bees and Other Winged Creatures
If you're like most adults, you probably remember learning about the importance of bees when you were a child. These tiny creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem by pollinating flowers and plants, which in turn supports our food supply. But did you know that creating a habitat for bees doesn't just benefit bees? It also supports other winged creatures, including butterflies, moths, and even hummingbirds. In today's world, where our environment is facing so many challenges, creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is a simple yet impactful way that we can all make a difference.
Picture this scene
My honey was lounging; reading his newspaper and a little blue bird flew over his shoulder and landed on the window sill. He had never seen a bird that looked like this before. The bird is called a Blue Grosbeak. Rare to see on the eastern shore of Maryland, it likes wide open fields that offer lots of seeds. It migrates up to the lower United States from deep in Mexico, where they live year round, to breed. Could it be that this rare site has taken a liking to the acres and acres of clover, buttercup, wildflower, sunflower and berries growing this year that we are attracting other nature, of the rare kind?
Well, the Blue Grosbeak’s habitat of choice includes forest edge, fields, low shrubbery and farm lands. Because their diet includes insects, invertebrates, crops including corn, and seeds, they stick close to cultivated areas while breeding and raising young. They commonly raise two broods per year. But could my need for making a hospitable environment for my bees be helping out the surrounding wildlife as well?
Why bees and other winged creatures need specific habitats
Bees and other winged creatures are very particular about the habitats they live in. In order to thrive, they need access to food, water, and shelter. When we create a habitat that supports bees, we're not just providing them with a home. We're also supporting the other winged creatures that rely on the same resources. For example, by planting flowers that attract bees, we're also providing nectar and pollen for butterflies and moths. And by creating a water source, we're providing a place for all winged creatures to drink and bathe.
Bees love plants, that’s not a secret for anyone, their favorites include Aster, basil, bee balm, bergamot, borage, cosmos, flax, geranium, globe thistle, golden rod, helianthus, hyssop, lavender, lupine, marjoram, mint, mullein, poppy, rosemary, sage, skullcap, sunflower, thyme, verbena, wild rose, and zinnia.
Of which, we grow sunflowers and lavender in grand quantity, making the perfect habitat for bees. But flowers also attract other pollen loving creatures like butterflies, other pollinating bugs, and hummingbirds. There’s an entire list of endangered butterflies here in the state of Maryland that may not ever come back due to deforestation and pollution. You can find it on the MD Dept of Natural Resources website. And the saddest thing on that list includes our state insect, that’s right, the Baltimore Checkerspot. Hummingbird species are also rare in Maryland; the two most noticed are the Ruby throated hummingbird and the Rufous hummingbird.
How to create a habitat for bees and other winged creatures
Creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is easier than you might think. Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
- Choose native plants that provide food and shelter for bees and other winged creatures. Native plants are best because they're already adapted to your region and are better able to support the local ecosystem.
- Provide a water source. A simple bird bath or shallow dish filled with pebbles and water can provide a place for all winged creatures to drink and bathe.
- Avoid pesticides. Pesticides are harmful to bees and other winged creatures, so choose natural pest control methods instead.
- Keep things messy. Don't be too quick to clean up your garden. Dead leaves and branches can provide shelter for bees and other insects during the winter months.
Although creating a habitat takes years to establish. Essential elements of a habitat must include a steady source of clean water, cover, food, and a place to raise young.
The benefits of supporting bees and other winged creatures
Creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is a simple way to make a big difference. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Pollination: Bees and other winged creatures are crucial pollinators, which means they play a major role in supporting our food supply.
- Biodiversity: By supporting bees and other winged creatures, we're supporting the diversity of life in our environment. This is important because a healthy environment is a diverse environment.
- Education: Creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is a great way to teach children about the importance of environmental stewardship. It's also a way to learn more about the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it.
How to spread the word
Creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is something that anyone can do, no matter where they live. But how can you spread the word and get more people involved? Here are a few ideas:
- Host a garden party or community event centered around creating bee-friendly habitats.
- Share information on social media about the importance of supporting bees and other winged creatures.
- Start a neighborhood or community garden focused on creating bee-friendly habitats.
- Talk to your local leaders about the importance of implementing bee-friendly policies, such as banning pesticides in public spaces.
Creating a habitat for bees and other winged creatures is a simple yet impactful way that we can all make a difference. By providing food, water, and shelter, we're not just supporting bees. We're also supporting the other winged creatures that rely on the same resources. And by promoting bee-friendly habitats in our communities, we're educating others about the importance of environmental stewardship. So why not start today? Whether you have a small balcony or a large backyard, there's always something you can do.
So far my bees are happy with their habitat, but for animals to start returning and feeling comfortable in the space, they need time, for generations of the animals to get settled and used to thriving and creating future birds and bees here. All I know is these guests are very welcome here.