Helping bees be better

Honey bees. Wild bees. Did you know Minnesota has more than 350 species of native bees? Many are in trouble. A double punch of heightened habitat loss and chemical use has hit bees hard.

You can help. Provide much-needed housing for wild bees—put up a nesting block. Wait until native bees emerge in mid-spring to cut or clean your garden beds. Refrain from pesticide use and avoid purchasing neonicotinoid (an insecticide linked to bee colony collapse disorder) treated plants. 

Plant native flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees that help bees to thrive, and if you have a shoreline, add a buffer zone. The University of Minnesota has a list at

Plan your garden with bees in mind. It’s never too early to be thinking about ways to help improve the environment in your community. A bonus: Bee-friendly habitats share many similarities with water-friendly habitats.

Look for more items in this series inspired by Clean Water Minnesota. For more information, go to