We are the members of WB Girl Scout Junior Troop 62138.
Last year our troop focused on caring for our environment. We learned about the importance of using less plastic, recycling and reusing as much as possible. Our friends at “Covered Inn Honey” donated a hive and honeybees to help us learn about the environment and the part bees play in our ecosystem. We were lucky, and the “Helpful Hive” thrived last year and has continued to thrive throughout the winter. This sparked an interest in the members of our troop to continue to learn about honeybees and other pollinators. We are currently working on our Bronze Award project and wanted to raise awareness in our community about the important work our pollinators do. Springtime is a great time to share the information we have learned. Over the next few months, we will share some tips and facts about honeybees and other pollinators. Small steps in protecting these important members of our ecosystem can make a big difference.
You may ask, what are pollinators and why are they dying? Pollinators are insects such as butterflies, bees, bats, hummingbirds and so many others. These creatures are vital for our survival yet these creatures’ populations have drastically decreased. Whey, well it is because of us. We use pesticides to kill the pollinators and we destroy their habitat so they cannot do anything. If we continue this, it could lead to extinction for not just bees and butterflies, but humans as well. We hope to share some easy tips with you so we can help our pollinators.
Springtime clean-ups- be patient. It is better for our pollinators to wait until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees to lean out your garden beds. Many butterflies, bees and other pollinators spend the winter in the dead leaves and hollowed out stems of last year’s plants. If you clean too early, you could be throwing away this year’s butterflies, bees and other important pollinators.
It is springtime and you may want to plant new flowers. How about adding some pollinator friendly flowers to your garden. Here are the best plants to plant:
Borages also known as the Starflower, Butterfly Bush, Coneflower, Sunflower, Dahlia, Daisy, Dandelion and Goldenrod.
Those are only a few of the flowers that help bees and other pollinators. For more pollinator friendly plants, go to www.gardenerspath.com.
Save the Swarms. In most situations, when a honeybee swarm is found on a tree, shrub or house you do not need to do anything. Bee swarms are temporary and you should keep distances away from the swarm. A local beekeeper may come to collect the swarm. The first thing they will do is find the queen. Once the queen is found the rest of the bees will follow. If you see a swarm Plymouth County Beekeepers Association may be able to help. www.plymouthcountybeekeepers.org
Create a wildlife friendly yard! Here are some good ways to keep your yard wildlife friendly. Avoid pesticides, they are bad for bees and will kill them. You can make a bee hotel, a place where bees can build their hive. Did you know that flowers are not the only plants bees will pollinate? You can plant herbs like lavender, thyme, sage and cilantro. Bird houses and feeders (including hummingbird feeders) are also a great way to make your backyard more wildlife friendly.
Avoid using pesticides. There are many natural ways to protect your garden and yard without using pesticides. You can put soap shavings, cedar oil, rosemary, or dried lemon peels in the garden. You can also add plants like marigolds, stinging nettles, and rhubarb.
Go organic and support organic farms. Organic food is better because organic farmers don’t use pesticides. Pesticides kill bees so there will be no pollinators. Choose organic fruits and vegetables. You can also go organic by growing your own fruits and vegetables.
One of the best ways to help pollinators is to support local beekeepers. There are a couple of ways to do this. One way is to buy honey and beeswax products from trusted local sources. Another way you can support them is to stop using pesticides. Those are the best and simple ways to support local beekeepers.
Bees need water too! It is important to remember the bees on hot summer days. Make a bee watering station by leaving out a shallow water dish. Bees are always looking for water. Adding some colorful stones to the bottom will help attract the bees. If you have a pool they will probably try to drink from it and they could drown in the deep water. Adding a different water source could prevent that.
Spread the love- tell family and friends! There are many fun and easy ways to spread the love and tell other people about how the environment needs honeybees. The first thing you can do is share the information you’ve learned from our tips with others. You can also donate to a non-profit that supports our pollinators. Here are a few great nonprofits:
Pollinator Partnership, The Honeybee Conservancy, The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund
The Bee Cause Project, The Nature Conservatory, and The National Wildlife Federation
Always remember little steps make a big difference. June is Pollinator month! It is super important to save the bees this month, but don’t forget that every day you should try to help out in saving the bees.