Be Bee Friendly, 199°

There really is no substitute for honeybees. Whether it's the gazillion tonnes of pesticides we pollute our food, land and water with every year, an Israeli virus, extreme lack of diversity through our insane enslavement to monoculture, or genetically modified plants, the honey bees are dying at an alarming rate.

They are a vital part of the ecosystem which provides us with food, and everything else we really need for that matter. What can you do about it? Make your yard bee friendly for a start.
HoneyGal who teaches bee stewardship and contributes over at the Organic Consumers Association forum suggests:

"Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall.

Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees."

You can also support your local organic family farmer by buying his/her produce directly or in locally owned non chain shops.

Learn more about how to help the Honeybees survive to help us thrive.

Organic Consumers Association forum - http://organicconsumers.org/forum/index.php?sho...

Spikenard Farm Honey Bee Sanctuary- http://www.spikenardfarm.org/honeybees.shtml

64 comments about this action

Nice one C Robb! I've always loved bees and I haven't seen one in ages. I'll be sure to get a hold of the plants you suggest and do my best to pick up some seaweed on the next free from power day.

What is the cycle for bees? If I'm not mistaken they can be around all year but hibernate in the cold. Is that correct?

in October 2008

I've never kept bees but hope to when we get settled on some property in the US. I know very little about seasonality of bees so I looked it up and found that the queens typically lay eggs in the winter and that the hive survives cold weather by "clustering". This is Wikipedia;

"In beekeeping, a winter cluster is a well-defined cluster of honey bees that forms inside a beehive when the air temperature dips below 54 to 57 °F (12 to 14 °C). Honey bees are but a few insects that survive the winter as a hive. As the outside air temperature decreases the winter cluster becomes tighter and more compact. The bees cling tightly together on the combs in the hive. The temperature within the winter cluster remains remarkably warm regardless of the outside air temperature. Larger clusters (basketball size) have a better chance for survival than smaller clusters (softball size). The winter cluster within the hive must move throughout the winter to reach the available honey stored in the combs.

Some die off is expected during the winter. In extended cold weather periods, the incidence of Nosema disease increases and the cluster may weaken as many bees begin dying off.

In subtropical climates, bees may not form a winter cluster at all. Worker bees forage and queens lay eggs almost year-round.

In the temperate zones, winter temperatures dip below 54 °F (12 °C) for extended periods. All brood rearing stops for some period during the winter. In early spring, brood rearing resumes inside the winter cluster when the queens starts to lay eggs again. Once a broodnest is established, the cluster must maintain a steady temperature between 94.1 to 98.0 °F (34.5 - 36.7 °C) inside the cluster. If the temperature in areas of the brood nest dips too low the brood dies - also called chilled brood."

in October 2008

Bees are one of the most important elements of a vegetable farmers ability to grow. Although I don't have a formal beehive, by planting for pollination we increase the numbers in bees and support there hives.

in January 2009

We have lots of wild bees in the area, and we have a commercial hydroponic tomato farm not too far from us, they use bees in there. I am always mindful of the bees when I garden.

Wretha

in January 2009

I love the idea of honey bees, but I have a lot of wasps in my area and my yard. How could I get honey bees instead of wasps, the wasps are angry and sting easily.

in March 2009

I am incredibly interested in this action and have written two blog posts on this very subject. Please take a look at the following link for information about the Great Sunflower Project, an organization offering free seeds to citizen scientists who will commit to observing and tracking the bees that visit their blooming sunflowers throughout the summer. There is still time to participate in this project -- it runs through the end of May!!
http://www.greenwala.com/community/blogs/all/792-Here-We-Go-Again-The-Great-Sunflower-Project-Revisited?f=true

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