So many people do not realize the importance of the various types of bees to us all. Pollinating flowers is a by-product of their main mission of making honey, which is their main food source. Pollination of flowers is necessary for plants to produce their fruits, which are some of our main food sources. It is estimated that pollination is required for approximately one third of all human foods. You would think that with such a co-dependence, we would do everything we could to attract and encourage bees in our environment, but sadly this is not always the case.
Bee populations worldwide are plummeting, due to habitat destruction, and the ever-increasing use of pesticides. We must do what we can to ensure that bee populations continue to thrive and are able to do their important work. In urban areas, bees are still important and need to carry out their pollination duties for the benefit of us all. People often worry about seeing bees in the urban environment, but almost all varieties of bees are non aggressive, and will leave you alone as long as you leave them alone. They are often confused with yellow jackets and hornets, which are much more troublesome and antagonistic towards people.
Plants that attract bees to the garden include perennials such as Coneflowers, Bee Balm, Chives, Lavender, and annuals such as Asters, Basil, Dahlias and Cosmos. I often work in my garden to the accompaniment of the bees buzzing and hovering in the nearby blooms, as I weed and cultivate, mulch and deadhead. They carry on with their own mission, ignoring me even as I work only a few inches away from them. I quite like watching their thoroughness as they visit each individual flower, and then buzz off to take their cache of pollen back to the hive. Having an adequate number of bees in the neighborhood ensures I have great yields in my vegetable garden and a greater quantity and better quality of flowers. They add another layer to the tiny ecosystem that is my garden, and should be appreciated and encouraged in their work. We all benefit from their diligence.