Until you realize how many crops depend on wild bees for pollination, most people underestimate their importance. Crops such as fruits, berries and nut trees require bees for pollination. Other food crops also require bees for successful production. This is why it is alarming that wild bees are disappearing in 139 key agricultural counties in the United States.
The loss of wild bees makes the death of commercially raised honeybee colony populations even more critical. Honeybee keepers cannot keep up with the demand for commercial pollination services. If the production of food drops due to the lack of pollinators, then the cost of food will rise, affecting everyone.
Most people do not realize that there are over 4000 species of bees in the United States. Each of us can help by developing or preserving habitat that supports bees. Wild bees are essential, even when commercial pollination services are being used by complementing commercial pollination, increasing crop production.
Each of us can help by planting spring to fall plants for bees, even a small garden can help or a container garden. Of course it goes without saying that you should not use pesticides.
Here are some plants that help bees. Many of these plants also attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Spring: Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac.
Summer: Bee balm, cosmos, Echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta.
Fall: zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod.
These are just a few plants. Check with your local nursery or your local bee keeping society to learn more about helping wild bees. If everyone contributes we can save the bees.