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.
- Wooden board
- Sandpaper if needed
- Waterproof paint suitable for outdoors
- Paint brushes
- Wood screws
- Drill bits
- Screw bits
- Garden or survey stake for mounting sign
- Clear coat to protect finished project
- Prepare naked board for painting. If needed, sand the surface smooth.
- Coat one side board with desired color, including sides, which I accomplished by placing it on blocks.
- Allow to dry.
- Flip over and coat other side of board.
- Repeat until desired depth of color is reached. I used two coats of paint with adequate dry time in-between.
- After paint has dried, use a pencil to draw on wording. Here I wrote “Bee Sanctuary” and hand drew a bee and flower.
- Use small brush and dark paint to trace over pencil and allow to dry.
- 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.
- 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.
- Using firm pressure to keep the items together, or a clamp, use the screw bits to screw the wood screws into the two pieces.
- 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.
- 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!