In the past few years, backyard beekeeping has experienced a surge of interest with a lot of people starting to keep their own beehives.
Obviously, we’re pretty passionate about encouraging people to join this hobby that we love so much.
However, we also respect the fact that backyard beekeeping is not for everyone.
Not to worry though if you aren’t planning to take care of your own beehives. There are still plenty of ways you can help honey bees without being a beekeeper.
Continue on to see our 10 (+1) ways you can help honey bees no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Use Pesticides At The Correct Time
You’ve likely heard that you shouldn’t use pesticides on your lawn because it’s bad for the bees. It’s true that pesticides are a big contributor of hygiene problems in beehives and can certainly kill the bees.
However, we also believe in that you should enjoy your home, garden, and lawn that you’ve so worked hard to develop.
This includes getting rid of annoying pests and bugs that frequently infiltrate your beautifully landscaped yard. It’s understandable to want to get rid of them.
As a nice middle ground, we encourage people to be smart about the timing of their pesticide use. With many pesticides, you can simply spray around or after dusk.
This gives the pesticide time to sink into the plant leaves well enough that it won’t be nearly as detrimental to the bees by the time they come out in the morning.
Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden
This is a pretty common recommendation, but it’s true that planting a bee-friendly garden is one of the easiest ways you can help honey bees without being a beekeeper.
By planting a bee-friendly garden, you’re providing the bees with more flowers to forage from. It also has the added benefit of helping improve the visual appeal of your property.
You can get seeds or starters for bee-friendly plants in many places. We recommend using this seed pack as a good, budget-friendly option.
Contact A Local Beekeeper To Remove Honey Bee Swarms
When you see a massing swarm of honey bees, most people want to panic.
If this feels familiar, our simple recommendation is don’t 🙂
When honey bees are swarming, they are at their most docile state as they search for a new home.
Instead of panicking or even worse, spraying the bees, we strongly recommend you contact a local beekeeper to come and safely remove the bees. Beekeepers are well-equipped to handle this.
If you’re reporting a honey bee swarm in Utah, Salt Lake, or Juab counties, please visit our Honey Bee Swarm Removal page to send us the details and we’ll come get the bees out of your hair.
Adopt A Beehive
One of the best and easiest ways to help honey bees without being a beekeeper is to adopt a beehive.
The basic idea is that you make a small contribution to a beekeeper offering this type of program. This contribution (typically) provides for the needs of the beehive for 1 year.
In exchange for this contribution, beekeepers typically provide varying amounts of honey from your adopted beehive, an adoption certificate, and a few update letters as a small thank you.
Our own Adopt-A-Hive program recently underwent a major overhaul from top to bottom and is a great option if you want to help honey bees in this way.
If so, click below to begin the simple process of adopting your very own beehive!
Don’t Disturb Beehives & Report Any Disturbances You Notice
In the past couple years, there has been a disturbing increase in beehive thefts and vandalizations. This is a sad situation especially since the world is already in desperate need of healthy honey bees.
To help with this, the first (easy) step is for you to ensure you aren’t causing disturbances to beehives you see or happen to be near. Give them a clear berth and let the bees do their thing.
The second thing you should do is report any beehive vandalizations, thefts, or disturbances you see to the authorities.
Simply reporting these problems can help greatly reduce the frequency with which they occur or (ideally) eliminate them altogether.
Support Small & Local Beekeepers
Successfully managing beehives can be a big challenge. Backyard beekeepers always appreciate the support of their local friends and neighbors as it allows them to continue doing their part to help the planet.
So the next time you consider purchasing something made by or for honey bees, consider buying directly from a small or local beekeeping company instead of buying on Amazon.
Provide a Safe Watering Place (AKA Bee Bath)
Honey bees are just like every other animal in that they need access to fresh water in order to survive. This is especially true during the hot summer months when the bees are busy foraging nectar for the hive.
An easy way you can help honey bees without being a beekeeper is to provide a place where they can safely land and get the water they need. Such a place is often called a bee bath.
Bee baths are great because they not only help the bees, but they can also spruce the visual appeal of your property without much investment required.
1 Million Women has a good set of DIY instructions for how to create a bee bath in your yard if you’re interested in this route.
Plant a Bee-Friendly Tree
Along the same vein as planting a bee-friendly garden, you can also plant bee-friendly trees.
Planting and maintaining bee-friendly trees provides far more foraging opportunities for bee colonies than individual flowering plants do.
The Arbor Day Foundation has compiled a great list of trees that are great to plant for bees and other pollinators.
If you like this idea, but aren’t sure how to plant a tree in your yard, here’s a short video to help you learn how:
Educate Yourself on Honey Bee Behavior
Honey bees are fascinating creatures and the more you learn about them, the better you can help them survive.
One of the most important things you can learn about honey bees is what is normal behavior and what is not.
An example we shared above is how bees behave when they are swarming.
Honey bees are at their most docile when they are swarming even though that swirling mass of bees can seem very threatening. This is when it is important to be calm and contact a beekeeper to remove them safely instead of panicking or (worse) spraying them.
Another example of understanding the behavior and knowing how to act is a situation in which you approach a beehive and you get “dive bombed” by worker bees.
Worker bees will do this “dive bombing” act and will even bounce off of your head simply as a warning to you that you are getting too close to the hive.
Simply back up a bit and you should be just fine.
Note: if you have longer hair and the worker bees do this “dive bombing” act, they may (unintentionally) get caught in your hair. If this happens, try to gently remove/release the bee or have someone else help you.
The key is to learn what is normal behavior and what isn’t so that you know how to react in those situations.
This will help bees by reducing disturbances as well as helping you (largely) avoid any painful stings in the process.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us or another beekeeper in your area.
Share Any of These Ideas With A Friend
One of the most beneficial ways you can help honey bees is to share what you know with someone else that is also interested in the topic.
In the digital age in which we live, sharing things with your friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances has never been easier.
Sharing this post is a particularly great way to spread the love for honey bees and encourage collaboration on other ways to help more bees survive.
Of course, we’d also be extremely grateful if you share our content with those you know and love 🙂 but the focus here is on helping more bees survive.
The more involvement we have in our communities, the better we can help this crucial species thrive in our ever-changing and challenging world.
+1: Become a Backyard Beekeeper
I know this isn’t technically a way to help bees without becoming a beekeeper.
However, a common side effect of sharing all of these ideas is that this can spark the desire to become a backyard beekeeper yourself.
You might find that you enjoy seeing these creatures around your property and you might want to see more of them. We see this often enough that we thought it was worth mentioning 🙂
If you want to get started as a backyard beekeeper, I have 3 recommendations for you:
These are the best first steps to get you on your way to becoming a backyard beekeeper!
We’ve gone over a lot of details on many ways you can help honey bees without being a beekeeper (+1 🙂 ). Here’s a recap of the different ideas we covered in this post:
- 1Use Pesticides At The Correct Time
- 2Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden
- 3Contact A Local Beekeeper To Remove Honey Bee Swarms
- 4Adopt A Beehive
- 5Don’t Disturb Beehives & Report Any Disturbances You Notice
- 6Support Small & Local Beekeepers
- 7Provide a Safe Watering Place (AKA Bee Bath)
- 8Plant a Bee-Friendly Tree
- 9Educate Yourself on Honey Bee Behavior
- 10Share Any of These Ideas With A Friend
- 11+1: Become a Backyard Beekeeper
What Else Would You Add?
This is a great list of easy ways you can help honey bees survive, but it is certainly not every possible way to help.
What other ways can you think of to help honey bees? Do you agree with any of the items on the list above? Do you already do something on the list above? If so, what have you liked about taking action on that item? If not, which item do you feel is something you can begin doing today to help more bees?
On the flip side, do you disagree with anything on the list above? If so, why? What would you change or add to this list?
I’d love to hear other ideas you have on how we can better help honey bees have a bright, safe future in our world.
Let us know your thoughts below!