Herbs to Attract Butterflies & Bees
All of nature lives together in harmony. When one part of the ecosystem is damaged, the entire system is broken. Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are necessary for our survival. Bees pollinate most of the crops that we use for food. If our food is not pollinated, the crops cannot grow. Then animals and humans, and every other living organism that relies on plants and crops for sustenance do not have food to eat. This could lead to famine and economic disruption.
Pesticides, herbicides, neonicotinoids, and crops genetically modified with pest control characteristics threaten the survival of Monarch butterflies, honeybees, and bumblebees. The chemicals kill Milkweed, the caterpillars’ main source of food. These chemicals also disrupt the bees’ location and tracking instincts leading them to get lost and not be able to find their way home. Chemicals make the bees more prone to disease, suppress their immune system, increase their stress, and are believed to be the culprit for Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which bees suddenly and mysteriously disappear from the hive. In recent years, beekeepers in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Central America, and South America all report over a 50% decline in their bee populations. In the United Kingdom, three species of bees have already gone extinct. 90% of the wild bee population in the US have died out. Monarch butterfly numbers are also the lowest they ever have been.
If we don’t change our gardening and agriculture methods, not only could the bees and butterflies become extinct, but it could surely threaten our food supplies and ultimately our own survival. As many people are becoming interested in green and clean living (organic food, natural cleaning products, natural body products, etc) there is a need to translate the natural movement to our own backyards. The following are some things we can all do to increase their bees’ and butterflies’ chances of survival as well as restore harmony and balance to the earth.
- Respect the bees! Leave their hives alone. Learn the difference between hornets, wasps, and bees. Bees are not aggressive like wasps.
- Consider becoming a beekeeper!
- Weeds aren't always a threat! Many of us were taught that weeds are “bad.” In fact, Mother Nature lives in harmony and balance. When weeds appear, that is nature’s way of balancing out the soil quality. In fact, many weeds have medicinal properties.
- Use natural and organic gardening methods like natural fertilizers (guano, kelp, bloodmeal) and natural pest detractors (neem and some essential oils like lemongrass and citronella).
- Pull out weeds by hand. This is not only great exercise but a way to get your hands dirty and commune with nature.
- Consider purchasing organic seedlings or organic seeds to plant in your garden. Plants from greenhouses may be sprayed in pesticides and chemicals.
- Plant organic herbs that attract bees and butterflies. Not only will these assist our bee and butterfly friends, but at the end of the growing season you can harvest your herbs and create wonderful healing teas, tinctures, and balms for yourself and your family.
Herbs that Attract Bees & Butterflies
Asclepias curassavica, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias syriacea.
At the end of the growing season harvest your Milkweed, dry it, and make a sachet for protection.
A favorite of cats, catnip is also a sedative for humans and is beneficial for insomnia, anxiety, and stomach upset.
Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula angustifolia
Great for skin care, anxiety, and stress.
Echinacea is one of the best herbs for supporting the immune system
Hyssop has been used for its cleansing properties since Biblical times. It is excellent for respiratory system health.
Monarda didyma, Monarda fistulosa, Monarda citriodora, Monarda pectinata
Excellent for digestive problems.
A big thanks to Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach, a Holistic Healing Psychologist, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, and Reiki Master Teacher, for the article above!
Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and essential oils? Christina offers a wide range of online courses on Herbalism, Reiki, Holistic Business Development, and more as well as face to face Herbalism classes in Wisconsin. Visit her website for more information!
As humans, we tend to find meaning in the natural world around us that goes beyond the technical role each species plays in the ecosystem. Here are some of the traits of these beautiful winged insects that have been traditionally ascribed to their appearance in our lives, dreams, or meditations.
- Lightness, joy, and transcendence of spirit. Butterflies look fragile, as if they were designed for beauty alone, but they are actually very strong. Some species fly amazing distances. A butterfly can help us transcend weaknesses and limitations.
- Transformation. Butterflies are an especially powerful helper for those at the higher stages of spiritual development when one becomes less bound by worldly things.
- Because of their metamorphosis, butterflies also represent faith, including faith in ourselves and our instincts. The little caterpillar doesn't need any authority to tell it to spend some time in a cocoon in order to transform into a flying wonder; it just knows.
- When butterflies appear in dreams, interpretations center on relationships. For example, catching a butterfly can mean finding love, while seeing one among the flowers symbolizes a positive, productive relationship. A butterfly fluttering from flower to flower may mean a friend will bring you good news, and a white butterfly symbolizes a promise.
- A dream about harming a butterfly could be a warning you're engaged in something that negatively affects your own spirit.
- Bees are connected with love and fertility, as well as productivity of all kinds. This seems a little counterintuitive since the worker bees we see buzzing around are basically asexual. But all their collective work goes toward nurturing their very fertile queen and her brood, and in that way, bees are a perfect representative of the selfless determination it takes to raise the young of any species.
- Because of their amazing ability to make honey, bees can also be an animal helper for manifesting or even the working of miracles.
- People who feel a connection with bees may relate to their work ethic, their intimate connection to the natural world, and/or their devotion to their hive.
- Bees appearing in dreams can mean a number of things. A swarm or a loudly buzzing bee may represent a threat, while a single bee might represent a person in the context of a group or community. Seen at a distance, or in a peaceful setting, bees often symbolize good luck or treasure.