Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bees for your Garden

Are you aware that about 75% of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables we eat in this country need to be pollinated by bees? Unfortunately Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is a mysterious disease has caused a large decline in the European honeybee population in recent years, here and in other parts of the world. CCD makes it even more important than ever to support our native bees.

Here are a few tips to attract and feed bees in your own yard/garden.

Make your garden bee-friendly

• Welcome bees by making your garden a safe place for them to feed and nest. If you can, leave some undisturbed areas or piles on your property for ground nesters.
• Bees are sensitive to chemicals, so it is important you give them sources of pesticide-free water and mud. It is best to avoid plants that need regular spraying and dusting. Try to use nothing stronger than insecticidal soap to control pests. If you must use chemicals, apply before dawn or after sunset when bee’s aren’t active, and keep the spray off the flowers.

Plant it and They Will Come

• Growing the bee’s favorite flowering plants is a great way to help them. Remember they are attracted by sight and smell. Attract them by planting masses of easy to spot blooms.
• Some bees are attracted by certain types of flowers in a family or by tiny flowers of herbs. You will help the most bees by planting flowers that bloom from spring to frost.
• Early spring blooming tress and bulbs like crocus provide nourishment to hungry bees when they emerge from winter hibernation. As the weather warms and more flowers open bees get busy harvesting pollen. Remember to plant fall blooming flowers to provide bees plenty to eat all season.

Great Shapes

Certain flower shapes are better for attracting some bees than others.
• Start with flat or open-center flowers like yarrow. Larger bees like these.
• Single daisy shaped blooms are better than doubles, which have pollen that is harder to reach.
• Other bees prefer spires with many flowers on them like foxglove.

Native bees are continuously busy making our gardens/yards more productive. Creating a healthy environment and sharing our garden with them is an easy way to help them in their work.

Some seasonal suggestions

• Crocus
• Flowering crabapple
• Hellebore

• Alliums
• Weigela
• Yarrow

• Aster
• Agastache
• Dahlia

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