I DO NOT WANT ANY BEES IN MY LANDSCAPE!
I hear this remark all the time from homeowners for whom I design landscapes. It makes me ask, “Why not”?
Unfortunately, bees have gotten a bum rap by homeowners in the last 20 years or so. People unfairly view Bees as an angry and aggressive intruder in the backyard, an unwanted guest with the sole purpose of ruining your backyard barbecue with family or friends, which simply is not true.
The main purpose of bees is to collect pollen (for their hive) or distribute pollen (on other plants) to aid in the development of fruit on those plants. Pollen provides a valuable food source for bee larvae back in the hive.
Without pollen, bees cannot produce honey, bee larvae will die, and with a hive losing its ability to sustain itself through the creation of new generations of worker bees, will simply perish.
The spreading of pollen from one fruit or vegetable plant to another is how the plant forms fruit…and from that fruit, creates the necessary seed that will allow that plant to reproduce itself again for future generations.
Many of the food crops we enjoy, such as corn, wheat, apples, tomatoes, and blueberries, all rely on bees to spread their pollen. Without the efforts of those pollinating bees, the world’s agricultural industry would collapse!
Homeowners are often afraid of bees for fear of getting stung by them. By nature, bees are not aggressive, unless they must protect their hive from physical threat. Hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps (which do not resemble bees at all) are more likely to be aggressive and sting an unsuspecting human visitor in the landscape.
I have been an active gardener for over 30 years and cannot recall ever being stung by a bee.
What bees and other pollinating insects can bring to a landscape is movement…and life!
Sitting in a quiet space in your landscape and watching bees hover and dance from one flower to the next gathering pollen on their legs is almost hypnotic. For many gardeners, watching bees in their landscape definitely lowers their blood pressure.
Think about these points the next time you see bees in your backyard, and you are tempted to run for the aerosol spray insect killer.