Bees are important to your gardens and environment

Many people aren’t fond of bees but they are needed in the environment for pollinating flowers and crops. Over the last 50 years there has been a steady decrease in the bee colonies in America. And the decrease in just the last five years is detrimental to our entire culture. At this rate our agriculture will be suffering very soon, and the problem is not just based in the USA.

I have noticed the decrease in the bee population in my back yard, particularly in the apple orchard. This has greatly affected my apple crop, particularly my early apples. By making your garden area more bee friendly you can help the problem.

The biggest help you can provide is to avoid the use of insecticides whenever possible. If you must use an insecticide then use it after dark and on plants without blooms. You can also look into natural organic sprays and combination planting. It’s amazing the difference this makes. I use only organic sprays and usually make my own homemade sprays.

Plan a steady succession of blooms throughout the growing season. By carefully choosing different plants you can have blossoms from spring to fall. Warmer climates offer a longer climate for growing and can have continuous blossoms. If you check with your local conservation department or extension office they can supply you with native plants lists suited for your area.

When lying out your gardens and yard plantings plant flowers in clusters of the same type and color. This creates a larger target that bees can find easily. Bright colors attract bees quickly. Include a few vibrant colors in your garden plans.

Leave areas of soil mulch-free. This will act as habitat for ground-nesting bees. You can install bee-nesting blocks made with tunnels to attract solitary bees such as blueberry bees and orchard mason bees.

Yellow Jackets, which are not my favorite bees, tend to nest in the ground. By making an area that is more bee friendly I can direct these bees into a certain area. Believe me…. you do not want to dig into an underground yellow jacket nest! I set a new Olympic running record when I dug into one.

You could even consider raising bees. My grandfather did and he just had a way with handling them. He once told me it was them mindset you had when working with them. And I believe this is true

Be kind to your bees.

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Denise

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