The Houston Zoo is celebrating World Bee Day today! World Bee Day was started in 2017 to help educate and raise awareness about the importance of bees as pollinators. Pollinators are responsible for pollinating almost three quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. Almost a third of our food production depends on bees specifically, so for every 1 out of 3 bites of food you eat, you can thank a bee! Bees are also a great indicator species and can tell us how healthy the environment around them is and if it is thriving. Their presence, absence and quantity can indicate the health of the ecosystem and guide us to take action to improve it.
The Houston Zoo does a variety of things to help create wildlife-friendly spaces to support our local pollinators. We have a number of pollinator gardens around the Zoo that our horticulture team does an amazing job creating and maintaining. Bees love any nectar-producing plant and are drawn to colorful flowering plants. We also have a few pollinator shelter stations set up in various places to provide appropriate shelters for a variety of different pollinators, including bees.
More recently, we have added a number of pollinator feeders throughout the Zoo. We started with hummingbird feeders and have added butterfly and bee feeder stations as well, also called “bee bars.” These feeding stations contain a shallow amount of homemade nectar, which is an appropriately measured amount of diluted sugar water, as well as small rocks that are halfway submerged in the water in order to give the bees a safe place to land and collect the nectar. We hope to see more bee activity around these new feeders in the coming weeks!
You can help support pollinators, too, by doing some small things in your own outdoor space! If you have a bigger space you can always start your own pollinator garden. If you have a smaller space, like a patio or balcony, you can have a few small potted plants to start. Every pollinator plant helps support pollinators! If you already have a few pollinator plants or a bigger garden set up, be sure to use more natural insect repellents to help protect your plants while keeping the bees safe and healthy as well. You can also set up your own “bee bar” to help provide nourishment for any passing pollinators!
Join us in celebrating World Bee Day and remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in the wild!