Everyone knows how important bees are. While the busy little creatures are out flitting from flower to flower they collect and transfer pollen and seeds from bloom to bloom. In doing so, they fertilize each plant. Cross-pollination is said to assist 30 per cent of the globe’s crops and 90 per cent of the world’s wild plants grow and thrive.
There is a serious problem, though, in that the bee population is in jeopardy. According to Friends of the Earth Canada, declining bee populations are due to the use of pesticides, disease spread, loss of habitat and climate change. At least seven Canadian species of bees are nearly extinct or endangered, which means that at least two-thirds of the crops we eat are also vulnerable.
The average homeowner can help, though, by doing their best to attract bees to their yard. Calgary’s Mirage Landscaping are experts in the types of annuals and perennials to plant to make your property a haven for the furry miniature buzzers.
What Types of Bees Live in Calgary?
Although it’s well-known how pivotal bees are to feeding the planet, it’s not well-known just how many different types there are. The honey bee tends to get a lot of attention – they’re cute, and, of course, they make sweet and yummy honey. But the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute blog points out that there are more than 300 different types of bees in Alberta, and all of them are imperative to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Populations of the western bumblebee, for example, are deteriorating. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure to attract a number of different species to your yard, as plenty of biodiversity makes for a more healthy environment overall.
How to Attract Bees
- Plant a good variety of annuals and perennials that will bloom from spring through to late fall.
- Bees are drawn to flowers by their colours and their odors, and seem to prefer those that are on spikes, such as lavender, veronica spicata, salvia and liatris spicata. Sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod, honeysuckle, Echinacea and anything daisy-like also seem to work well.
- Pots of flowers in bright bunches are pretty much a sure win. Place them in the same spot each year, as bees may have a built-in radar that causes them to return to known pollen-hunting grounds annually.
- Different shapes of flowers are also good for attracting bees.
- Some varieties of bees prefer natural habitats. Keep an area of your yard wild by allowing grass to grow tall enough to fold over and leave behind debris such as plants with hollow stems and dead branches.
- Purchase or build a bee box to attract social species like honey bees. These are readily available at garden stores or you can build your own quite easily using a kit.
Butterflies are Also Pollinators
Butterflies are always welcome visitors to a yard, and they do a lot more than just be beautiful. They are also very effective pollinators. They work in a different way than bees do, though. While standing atop flower heads looking for food they collect pollen on their legs and head rather than all parts of their bodies like bees, and can see more colours. They also travel much longer distances so are great for pollinating large areas. Attract butterflies by not using pesticides, planting species native to Calgary and Alberta, incorporating a lot of red, yellow, orange, pink and purple and creating butterfly spas by filling shallow dishes or pans with sand and a small amount of water. Place them in the sunniest areas of your yard.
Hummingbirds pollinate as well, too, and Calgary is lucky to be a migratory route. Attract hummingbirds with plants like honeysuckle, petunias, fuchsia, impatiens, begonias and anything bell-shaped. Hummingbird feeders work well too.
Southeast Calgary Landscaping Company Called Mirage
Call Mirage to not only beautify your yard, but also make it a haven for the right types of wildlife visitors. Also call Mirage to help get rid of the wildlife you don’t want. Specializing in southeast Calgary, Mirage provides Calgary lawn care and Calgary landscape construction services. Check out our portfolio for examples of how we work!