Globally, bee populations have been on the decline for the better part of a century, a troubling trend considering the important role these pollinators play in our survival. “We would not have the variety and supply of different foods available if we didn’t have honeybees helping us,” says Cherie Sintes-Glover, founding director of the Big Valley Beekeepers Guild. “As one of the greatest agricultural areas in the world, our farmers here in San Joaquin County depend on pollinators and bees to facilitate high yields and harvests.”
Home gardeners can help ensure that even urban areas serve as an oasis for bees by planting a variety of flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees. Cherie also recommends providing a shallow water source (such as a birdbath) with river rocks or other “floaties” to allow bees to get a drink without falling in. Above all, avoid pesticides, which can immediately kill bees and have a huge impact on hive health. “Plants that have blue, purple, and yellow flowers are attractive to bees,” says San Joaquin County Office of Agricultural Commissioner’s Gabriel Chan. While bees do see in color, they perceive the blue end of the spectrum more vividly, easily recognizing these flowers as a source of food. Red flowers actually appear black and therefore don’t tend to attract bees.
Gabriel encourages the public learn more about the importance of bees and the role they play in our ecosystem, which Cherie says the Big Valley Beekeepers Guild is more than happy to help with.
Follow the Big Valley Beekeepers Guild on Instagram or join one of their monthly meetings.