In our May 2021 issue, we shared the story about how Katie and Elvis Opriş came to operate Brothers Honey Co. in Conway—and how they fell in love with bees along the way. While bees may get a bad rap for their stingers, they play a vital role in keeping our ecosystem (and our gardens!) diverse and healthy. You don’t have to take up beekeeping to help sustain a healthy environment for these hardworking anthropods. “People would be surprised probably to know how many people around them may have a hive, or how many hives may be in a three-mile radius of them,” Katie says. “There are lots of ways anyone can help.”
Here, she and Elvis share four tips for creating a more bee-friendly atmosphere around your home.
A bountiful garden in Fayetteville built with bees and butterflies in mind. Photo by Rett Peek
1 // Let your grass grow wild.
If mowing is one of your least favorite chores, you’re in luck—bees love their lawns on the wilder side. “In areas where you might not have to have a manicured lawn, we encourage people to plant clover and wildflowers,” Katie says, noting these provide additional sources of nectar.
2 // Plant something purple.
While bees won’t be too picky about what types of flowers you plant in your garden, they do have a favorite color: purple. Ultra-violet blooms like butterfly bush, coneflowers, sedum, and salvia (below) will make beautiful win-win additions to your garden.
3 // Make a bee bath.
Like birds, bees are drawn to water sources, and they’ll appreciate a drink and opportunity to cool down in a tiny version of a bird bath. “It has to be very shallow, and they need a place to land, like a stone, so they won’t be submerged,” Katie says.
4 // Say no to chemicals.
Spraying for pests can negatively affect the population of pollinators. If you want to rid your yard of unwanted insects, reach for organic solutions such as neem oil to ward off mites, aphids, and fungal diseases, vinegar to kill weeds, and epsom salt for keeping slugs and snails off your plants.
Read our story from the May 2021 issue to learn more about Brothers Honey Co. in Conway.