Its not as simple as just having bees and plants, it’s much more complex than that, here’s how:
It starts with dirt. Healthy dirt means healthy plants. I take the garden and organic food waste and feed it to the voracious red wiggler worms they in turn produce waste that’s so full of beneficial organisms that its what plants crave. The plants then grow healthy and produce a lot of nectar and pollen for the bees. Some items like citrus onions and garlic worms cannot eat, that goes to the regular compost pile instead, nothing gets wasted.
Anyone can help the bees even if they cant have them and having “bee friendly” flowers is how. A beekeeper will try to have “bee friendly” flowers from the first part of spring till the last part of fall giving them as many forage opportunities as possible. Having a variety of flowers is helpful too from wildflowers to perennials to garden vegetables, bees need variety! But there are some plants that are much more valuable than others like Borage, one of the best nectar and pollen sources for bees.
To have a variety of flowers one should have a variety of gardens. My bees have special select gardens and the variety grows every year. The wildflower garden has many different kinds of annual flowers including “bees friend” that grow all throughout the year providing ample forage opportunities. The perennial garden has flowers that come back year after year with a reliable nectar and pollen source one can count on. Lastly, the newest garden added in 2020 is the vegetable garden for not only does it feed the bees but the worms and the soil as well.
With the ever growing variety of flora comes an ever growing variety of pests that eat the flora. Having the valuable nectar and pollen sources getting attacked by garden pests I needed to attract their predators. In my area thrive the endangered Western Bluebirds. Putting up bluebird houses not only attracted this endangered species but now the garden has excellent garden pest control.
Being next to wetlands means mosquitos are everywhere but as it turns out those nesting boxes the bluebirds don’t occupy the Tree and Tiel-Green Swallows will gladly fill them and not only eat the mosquitos themselves but invite all their friends for a feast daily.
Once those two species are done nesting and their brood has fledged come the House Wren. These funny little birds meet if not exceed the bluebird’s zest for garden eating critters.
Though the native birds were doing their jobs very well, it was still not quite enough. As the garden grew so did the need for enhanced pest control and added fertilizer. The wild birds and worms can only handle so much so that’s where the chickens came in. A week in the garden and my slug problem was practically eliminated. Soon after though I discovered a new problem, the chickens were too good at their job and the mad dash for chicken fencing began. Note to self, metered access for the chickens!