The problem of the decline of bees, and in general of all pollinating insects, is now very often talked about, because all research has highlighted a drastic reduction of their biomass, which could have very serious consequences on the reproduction capacity of plant species.
Among the main threats that these animals have to face are surely i pesticides, about which the debate is more than ever fiery: on the one hand we find the alarms launched by entomologists and researcherson the other hand interests of large pharmaceutical multinationals that sell products for the agricultural market.
In addition to putting pressure on institutions for a more reasonable use of chemicals, is there anything the individual can do to help bees? The simplest answer is to offer them something to eat, that is flowers. We do not refer only to ornamental species, but also to much less valuable and often opposed plants, such as the widespread dandelion.
This wild plant with characteristic yellow flowers is thick synonym of neglect, as it is one of the first to appear when the gardens or terraces are poorly maintained. Yet, given its earliness, it it can be very useful to insects. Having the flowering peak between March and May, the dandelion is very useful for giving insects the first taste of nectar after leaving the winter hibernation. Even if the dandelion does not produce a high quality substance (many trees and other types of plants produce a much more nutritious nectar), it has the advantage of being widespread and of not needing treatment.
If we want to give a little help to the populations of pollinating insects, we could begin by postponing the cutting of the grass in the courtyards or gardens for a few weeks, leaving the animals the opportunity to recharge their energies at the beginning of the season. After spring then, we could choose “friend” plants of bees, like lavender, thyme, rosemary, mallow or calendula. They are small gestures that do not pretend to be able to stop the decline of insects, but surely they can help slow it down.
On this occasion we also want to remind you that – contrary to when it can be found written on the net – it is absolutely not suitable to offer bees sweetened water or honey. In the first case we would impoverish the quality of the honey produced by them, in the second we could spread very dangerous bacteria.
The only food that bees and pollinating insects need is what Nature has always shown us: the precious nectar present inside the flowers.