Bees Are Crucial To Any Community’s Ecology

Bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in supporting the growth of valuable plant species that in-turn supports the food supply for other species – including people.  In recent years bees and other pollinators have become increasingly endangered and more communities have become aware of the need to support their protection and health.

The Sandy Springs Bee City USA was formed by a group of Sandy Springs residents to create a pollinator-friendly community and to support the larger mission of contributing to sustaining a pollinator-friendly environment.

Our Sandy Springs Bee City USA non-profit organization was organized under the umbrella of the Bee City USA non-profit group, an initiative of the Xerces Society whose mission is to support the protection and health of pollinators.

Bee City USA® and Bee Campus USA work to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators, in particular the more than 3,600 species of native bees in this country, by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the     Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

We are committed to fostering a pollinator-friendly ecology and to educating the local community about the value of pollinators and how to contribute to the best practices of sustaining a healthy pollinator environment.

We hope you’ll join us in our quest.

Sandy Springs Bee City USA 

Pollinator Week 2021 – June 21-27

 
Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally in support of pollinator health. It’s a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them! 
 
June 21 is officially the first day of summer. For some people spending time outside is a mixed bag because of fear of the insects we share the earth with. It’s important to know that we can make ourselves more comfortable while outdoors without harming the insects that are crucial to our food system and environmental health. 
 
Public enemy #1: Mosquitoes
 
Believe it or not, there’s a lot you can do to control mosquitoes without resorting to pesticides that wipe out all the non-harmful insects at the same time. 
 
Individual mosquitoes live their entire lives in an area ~150 square feet. This means that by controlling mosquito habitat (standing water) you really can impact the mosquitoes that live on your property! Here are a few places to start:
 
  • Replace water in bird baths and pet water containers every three days.
  • Get rid of English Ivy – it’s not good for the trees and is a great place for water to collect in leaves.
  • Keep your gutters free of debris that creates pools of water.
  • Keep an eye out for other water collection spots that are a little less obvious – like trays under potted plants.
  • Use non-toxic Mosquito Dunks, in fountains or other water features. These are made with Bt-israelensis (Bt-i), a highly specific biological pesticide. The bacteria Bt-i kills mosquito larvae but doesn’t harm other insects, birds, fish or other wildlife. The same substance is also available in pellets that you can put in your potted plant trays.
  • In the early evening when mosquitoes are most active, use a powerful fan to keep the little devils away. Interestingly, it’s been proven that individual mosquitoes learn when an environment isn’t hospitable – like when you wave your arms at them and swat! But it’s not much fun to constantly wave the little pests away so use an area fan to do so – with the side benefit of keeping you cooler!
 
Whatever you do, please don’t resort to mosquito fogging. No matter what your bug guy says – there’s no safe fogging when it comes to pollinators and the fog kills everything that is flying, including beneficial insects that eat mosquitoes! If you must use chemical control outdoors, ask for the garlic formulation that is used as a barrier spray. This option is available if you ask for it. Also, businesses that focus on just mosquito abatement offer a wider range of less toxic options and are better trained at proper application than the broad-based pesticide companies. It may cost more, but it’s worth it!
 
Also, read and carefully follow instructions on bug spray products that you use on your skin. It’s important to wash pesticides off your skin as soon as you are indoors and keep your children from getting it into their noses or mouths.
 
Pollinator week activities for the kiddos:
 
Have your own pollinator scavenger hunt! If there’s not a blooming garden nearby, visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden and see how many different pollinators you can spot. You can use a smartphone app to identify your finds on the spot or just keep a tally and sort by size or type (bee, wasp, butterfly, fly, etc.) The Great Georgia Pollinator Census has a downloadable guide that has an awesome guide to help you know what kind of insect you’re looking at. 
 
If your kids get excited about bees during pollinator week, sign them up for a Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association’s Junior Beekeeper event where they’ll spend a Saturday learning all about honey bees and even get to suit up and explore a beehive!
 
Lastly, get crafty and make your own non-toxic mosquito repellent using essential oils. 
 

Thanks For Supporting Our Pollinator Community