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Honey bees are social insects, meaning they colonize and live together inside of hives. Keeping your own hive supports healthy honey bee populations and ensures that the plants and crops in your surrounding area are being pollinated. Plus, it’s an excellent outdoor hobby! Backyard and rooftop beekeepers enjoy a more productive garden as well as the added benefit of harvesting honey in the fall.

If you’re interested in starting your own hive, check out our Beekeeping 101 page to learn about your first steps in becoming a beekeeper. We also have Beekeeping 101 Workshops for those in the Bay Area, but these workshops are currently on pause due to COVID. We will send updates via social media and newsletter (sign up at the bottom of our homepage) as soon as we can explore the inside of a hive together again!

Native bees don’t produce honey and most species are solitary, meaning they nest and forage for food on their own. Just like honey bees, though, these pollinators need a place to call home! Native bee houses are wooden structures that mimic habitat for cavity-nesters— bees that lay their eggs in the holes of dead wood or other tunnel-like spaces found in nature. You can build these houses yourself with just some cardboard and few hardware tools! Other native species like to nest in plant material, so you can provide a home simply by arranging piles of dead leaves and twigs in your yard.


Pollinator-friendly gardens are incredibly important for sustaining healthy honey bee and native bee populations. Bees rely on the nectar and pollen from nearby flowers for their survival; when flowers are scarce, bees can starve. Planting a pollinator garden ensures that bees have a source of food year round— just be sure your plants are pesticide free! As a bonus, put out a shallow dish of water with a few rocks in it for bees to drink; they’re thirsty too!Unless you have particular bee allergies, there’s no need to fear the pollinators that are attracted to your property. The "bees" that give most people trouble— which are actually yellow jackets, wasps and hornets— aren't true bees, just relatives that belong to the same taxonomic group called Hymenoptera. Unlike honey bees and native bees, these species are carnivores and won't be attracted to your plants.

Want to learn which plants are pollinator-friendly in your area or how to get organic seeds for your garden? Check out our Pollinator Garden resource page! Don’t have space at home for a garden but still want to help bees? Read about how to grow natural, compact, dispersible pollinator plants with just a few materials on our seed ball kit page. 


Pesticides are harmful to humans and even more harmful to bees. Lawns, gardens and other green spaces that require pest control are often treated with harsh chemicals that poison bees when they attempt to pollinate the area. Research shows that neonicotinoid pesticides linger in the nectar and pollen of flowers, where bees are most likely to come into contact with them. Exposure to these chemicals weakens honey bee and native bee immunity, making them more susceptible to disease and infestation by pests. Pesticides can also be very damaging to flowers in full bloom. 

For resources on bee-friendly means of pest control, read our Natural Pest Control guide. 

Pesticides have become an integral part of our food systems, but many small-scale farmers are now working to integrate organic and permaculture practices into their operations. This means they cultivate a variety of crops (instead of just one monocrop) without the use of harmful pesticides, which is great news for bees. Buying local and organic produce is a great way to support the bees and your own community. Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for labels that indicate organically grown products, or visit your local farmer's market where you’ll find lots of bee-friendly options.


Buying local raw honey helps support beekeepers and their honey bees, which in turn promotes your own health and the health of your local environment. Unlike pasteurized honey, raw honey comes straight from the hive and is unheated, unpasteurized and undiluted. As a result, it retains the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are often lost in conventional honey products without losing any of its delicious flavor. As an added bonus, raw honey is a well known healing remedy for minor burns and abrasions, and it can provide soothing relief for colds and flu. Investing in local raw honey helps keep the bees and your body healthy!


Swarming is a natural process that occurs when honey bee and native bee colonies outgrow their hive. If you see a swarm, the best thing to do is contact a beekeeper association. Many bee-conscious groups will collect swarms to keep or to relocate to a new home. Honey bees swarms present very little danger but may become aggressive if they are sprayed with water or otherwise disturbed. Just keep your distance and wait for help to arrive. 


Ecologists and researchers interested in bees are reaching out for help with extensive citizen science projects. You can provide vital information to further their research and add to our knowledge of how to support struggling honey bee and native bee populations. Check them out and get involved!
  • Planet Bee's ZomBee Watch Project– A Citizen Science lesson created by Planet Bee in collaboration with Professor John Hafernik's. This 3-day lesson involves the construction of light traps in order to catch and examine "ZomBees", or bees which have been parasitized by zombie flies. 

  • – The world’s largest citizen science project, aimed at gaining a better understanding of pollinators and their conservation.
  • – Investigates the relationship between plant and animal life cycles by measuring the weight of honeybee hives throughout the year.
Finally, one of the most important ways you can help bees is to talk about them! Passion is contagious and education leads to activism, so bee-come an advocate by learning more and teaching your friends about bees. Don’t forget to spice up the conversation with some nifty bee puns— we guarantee you’ll be hivin’ a good time!
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