Bees are essential to life on earth as we know it – more than 20,000 species around the world are essential pollinators for farming and wild plants – but recently their numbers have been declining at a rate that alarms experts and laypeople alike.

“Populations are declining due to a variety of factors including human development, pesticides, disease, and a changing climate,” a representative from The Honeybee Conservancy  told Bored Panda.

If you’re concerned and want to do your part to help, below are 6 simple ideas that could make a difference for the bees in your yard – and beyond.

#6. Build a bee hotel.

Image Credit: Danie Ware

Most people associate bees with hive living, but the truth is that most bees are more solitary, with 70% living underground and 30% living in trees or hollow stems. You can find plans for a bee condo or bee hotel online and build your own if you want to attract pollinators to your yard.

#5. Protect their habitat.

Image by Thomas Schiewer from Pixabay

Create gardens everywhere there’s green space – wildflowers can populate street corners, balconies, along roadways, and yes, in your backyard.

#4. Plant trees.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

It’s not just flowers that bees love – they also adore trees. Tree leaves and resin provide the nesting materials necessary for bees and many live in the trunks and thick limbs.

#3. Avoid harmful pesticides.

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

If you do have a garden, check the products you’re using to reduce pests. If the chemicals they contain are part of the neonicotinoid family, you’ll want to ditch them. Instead, check for organic options or try introducing natural predators like praying mantises or ladybugs to your space.

#2. Sponsor a hive.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

There are initiatives in many communities that build and install stocked honeybee hives and solitary bee homes. You can donate today to sponsor one or more habitats you don’t have to build or maintain. It’s a win for everyone!

#1. Create a bee bath.

Image by Cornelia Moore from Pixabay

Much like a bird bath, a shallow dish or container filled with clean water and pebbles or stones that poke out of the water is a great retreat for tired bees in the middle of a long workday.

I’m off to do my part…as soon as spring finally gets here.