Creating a Bee Sanctuary #SaveTheBees #LoveTheWeeds

      A major red flag for humans is the continued disappearance of bees. These pollinators act as a monitor for environmental health. If the environment isn’t healthy enough to keep bees alive…what does that mean for humanity? The introduction of pesticides, herbacides and GMO crops with built in bug-killer has ignited a major decline in the bee population. Recently, bees have been submitted for the endangered species list. Scary times.

     In response to this terrifying reality, my family began researching what we could do to help the bees right in our own yard. We already have some flowers, grow as much produce as we can and eat organically. Unfortunately that’s not enough. This year it was months before I saw our first bee. I was afraid that we wouldn’t have any at all. We concluded that the obvious solution is to try and attract more bees to our yard. Not only does it help the environment, but it ensures pollination of our apple trees and veggie garden, and is a great lesson for our children. Win – win – win. 

How to create a bee sanctuary in your back yard. Save the bees. We may say it, but what can we do? Simply planting some bee friendly species can help attract and sustain bees in your own yard.

     While eating organic and supporting the ban of bee harming pesticides helps, we all need to help bees survive in our own immediate environments. While my yard has several gardens containing annuals, perennials and veggies. I was unsure which plants would attract bees, and which were more decorative. I set out to plant species that specifically help the bee population in my region and was surprised to learn that simply allowing dandelions and clover to grow in our lawn is huge!
Plant local bee-friendly plants
     I turned to our local organizations and found this fantastic list of Pennsylvania Pollinator plants from Pennstate University, I suppose you could call it the PPP for PA from PSU. I was glad to see that many of these plants were already in our yard, and many others were easily obtainable. To begin our sanctuary, I thought it would be important to designate an area for our pollinator plants and repurposed items I found in our home. We places a non-stinging Mason Bee House near our garden and got to work. So okay, the bees can’t read…but it’s a great reminder to us to work hard at helping our pollinating friends survive.
Creating a sign to designate the bee garden
Material List:
  • Wooden board
  • Sandpaper if needed
  • Waterproof paint suitable for outdoors
  • Paint brushes
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screw bits
  • Garden or survey stake for mounting sign
  • Clear coat to protect finished project

Instructions:

  1. Prepare naked board for painting. If needed, sand the surface smooth. 
  2. Coat one side board with desired color, including sides, which I accomplished by placing it on blocks.
  3. Allow to dry.
  4. Flip over and coat other side of board.
  5. Repeat until desired depth of color is reached. I used two coats of paint with adequate dry time in-between.
  6. After paint has dried, use a pencil to draw on wording. Here I wrote “Bee Sanctuary” and hand drew a bee and flower.
  7. Use small brush and dark paint to trace over pencil and allow to dry.
  8. Measure wood screws against finished board and garden stake/survey stake for mounting. Screws should penetrate both the board and into the stake without going out the back. I had a variety of screws at home and it took a little searching to find the perfect size.
  9. Place the sanctuary sign in a desired spot over the stake. Use the drill to create pilot holes. Pre-drilling the holes will help prevent the board from splitting once you screw the two pieces together.
  10.  Using firm pressure to keep the items together, or a clamp, use the screw bits to screw the wood screws into the two pieces.
  11. Find a good spot in your garden or garden-to-be and place the sign into the soil using firm pressure. You may need a rubber hammer.
  12. Add other bee friendly features including plants, a water station and definitely no pesticides to attract bees to this area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     This process took several days to complete. Rainy days lead to increased dry time for the sign, and it needed two coats of yellow paint on each side, one coat with black lettering, and two coats of spray clear coat on each side. I was able to re-purpose nearly everything. I had the board, survey steak from our tomato plants, clear coat, screws in our garage. In addition to the bright yellow sign to help attract bees, we needed water.

Bees need a safe place to get a drink

    During the summer, when the temperature is dry and hot, bees need a safe place to get a drink. A bird bath would work, or watering station like the one see above made from upcycled items. Our bee watering station is made from a broken flower pot, old metal mixing bowl and a few rocks from the yard so the bees don’t drown. I usually leave a stick in too so that in-case a bee falls in, it can climb back out safely.

     The only items I had to purchase were the black and yellow paint which, including tax, were under $4 from the craft store. We planted Red Milk weed and found that many of the plants we already had are great for pollinators! Keep following as our sanctuary unfolds, our garden grows and for updates on our bees!

 As always thanks for stopping by! I appreciate a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (when being chosen for reviews many companies care about numbers) and love to network on Google and LinkedIn.Want to work together? Contact MamaBananasAdventures@gmail.com

20 thoughts on “Creating a Bee Sanctuary #SaveTheBees #LoveTheWeeds

  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    Way to help protect our pollinators. Say NO to gmos!

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    Way to help protect our pollinators. Say NO to gmos!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    I avoid pesticides when possible precisely because I want to encourage bees to hang around my gardens.

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    I avoid pesticides when possible precisely because I want to encourage bees to hang around my gardens.

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    That is just the cutest sign, and it's SO important to think about bees. Their benefit to the ecosystem as a whole is huge!

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    That is just the cutest sign, and it's SO important to think about bees. Their benefit to the ecosystem as a whole is huge!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    This is a wonderful idea because bees are so beneficial! They are also fascinating to watch. We raised bees for a short time and it's really an amazing process.

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    This is a wonderful idea because bees are so beneficial! They are also fascinating to watch. We raised bees for a short time and it's really an amazing process.

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    Bees are such an important part of our ecosystem. I love that you are raising awareness about protecting them and their natural habitats.

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    Bees are such an important part of our ecosystem. I love that you are raising awareness about protecting them and their natural habitats.

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    Such a great project. We looked into doing something similar but our stupid city has a code about setting up places for bees (hives, etc.)

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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    I applaud you for trying to attract bees to your yard so that they can pollinate what really could use it! It is a sad commentary that the bees are disappearing.

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  • September 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm
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    Obviously there's a big problem with bee population, and it's really important to raise awareness. I love this idea, and it's a really cute sign too!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm
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    Obviously there's a big problem with bee population, and it's really important to raise awareness. I love this idea, and it's a really cute sign too!

    Reply

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