Anyone who is at all environmentally conscious is aware of the rapid decline of the bee population. Until I wrote a previous post Bring back the pollinators I was aware of it but didn’t really feel it was my problem.
What weird thinking. Much of our food supply depends on being pollinated by bees therefore the problem definitely concerns all of us. Actually, while no one has pinpointed the cause(s), I believe we home gardeners are partially responsible for the decline with our insistence on manicured, weed-free lawns and flowerbeds.
When we spray plants with pesticides/herbicides the pollen collected by the bees is poisonous. When they carry this back to the hive it either kills the developing bees or weakens their immune system making them more susceptible to disease and predators. Therefore if we’re part of the problem, it only makes sense that we become part of the solution.
Please share this post with all your social media friends and help save the bees. Alone our efforts are limited. Together we can make a huge difference. Let’s do it. The bees thank you.
The following Information is “Excerpted from The Bee Book – copyright Dorling Kindersley Inc. / Used With Permission”.
How can we help to save the bees?
Bees have some kind of internal mapping system and will return to the most bee-friendly yards. Therefore a good place to start is to make your yard a place where bees want to hang out. Bees prefer yards with a variety of plants – trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables and herbs. By also providing them with plants that bloom at different times throughout the season they’ll be more than happy to stay around. They will need a water source and since they don’t like standing in water they should have shallow water dishes with a dry place for them to land. The dishes should be cleaned and filled with fresh water daily. And of course, no spraying of chemicals.
1.California Lilac; 2. Apple; 3. Orange-ball Tree; 4. Culver’s Root; 5. Bergamot; 6. New England Aster; 7. Giant Onion; 8. Anise Hyssop; 9. Meadow Cranesbill; 10. Lavandin; 11. Sea Holly; 12. Bowles’ Mauve Wallflower; 13. Orange Coneflower; 14. California Poppy; 15. Thyme; 16. Phacelia; 17. Field Poppy; 18. Lamb’s ears. Mid-height spring-flowering plant – Hellebore and Low-growing spring-flowering Crocus.
Not all bees live in hives. There are thousands of different species and some, like the Mason Bees (very effective pollinators), find other places to nest. Unfortunately, because of built-up areas and landscaped lawns they are having a difficult time finding suitable places. We can help them out by making nesting sites for them. The book displays a variety of them – a Clay Bee House, a Wood Block Bee House and even a Pallet Bee Hotel but I was mostly intrigued by the Bamboo Bee House below. It looks neat, is very simple and inexpensive to make, and can be hung anywhere out of the way.
- Measure and mark 8″ (200 mm) from one end of a piece of 4″ (110 mm) diameter PVC pipe – cut the pipe with a handsaw
- Cut bamboo 1/2″ – 5/8″ (10-15 mm) shorter than the PVC pipe. As you cut the bamboo make one of the cuts close to a ‘node’ (the knuckle-like joints found at intervals along bamboo canes) so that each piece has an open and closed end.
- Mark 2 points halfway along the PVC pipe at roughly the 10 o’clock and the 2 o’clock positions when viewing the pipe from its end. Drill holes at both these points.
- Cut a piece of string about 12″ (300 mm) long. Tie a large knot in one end of the string and thread the free end through one of the holes, from inside to out. Pull it through and insert the free end into the other hole. Tie another large knot in the free end. The string should now form a loop with knots inside the pipe at either end.
- Insert the bamboo pieces into the pipe, taking care to avoid damaging the knots. The closed ends of the bamboo should all be flush with the same end of the pipe, forming the back of the bee house. Keep adding bamboo pieces until they are packed in tightly and do not move.
- Different hole sizes will attract different species of solitary bees, but they will not nest in holes over 1/2″ (10 mm). Avoid mixing sizes in the same bee house since pests and diseases can jump between different species that cohabit.
- Hang the bee house on or close to a sunny wall facing south or southeast, at least 3 ft. (1 m) off the ground, with no vegetation obscuring the entrance.
We can join a conservation campaign to learn more about the problem and maybe even help plant new habitats. Citizen scientists (that means you) can monitor invasive pests or log the range of a species right from your own backyard.
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month – a perfect time for you to join a conservation campaign. Any Conservation Group would be delighted to have more volunteers on board.
The book has a large section on Beekeeping and anyone thinking they might be interested in becoming a beekeeper would be well advised to read this book to find out what is involved.
On a different level – if we lose the bees we would naturally also lose the bee byproducts, most of which have valuable health benefits, not to mention the economic contribution made by the bee-producers. All in all, the loss would be devastating in many different ways.
COLD SOOTHER. A combination of honey and cider vinegar is an old traditional remedy for colds and sore throats, and with the addition of spices it makes a very palatable hot drink. From “Enjoying Bee Bounty” – The Bee Book.
- 1-in (2.5-cm) piece of fresh ginger root
- 3 cloves
- ½ tsp turmeric powder (or 1 tsp freshly grated turmeric root)
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- Lemon slices (optional)
Makes 1 Drink
HOW TO MAKE:
1)Peel and grate the ginger; the easiest way to peel ginger is with the edge of a teaspoon. Place the ginger in a small pan with all the other ingredients, except the honey. Add ¼ cup (60ml) water, bring to a boil, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
2)Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved. Strain into a mug and drink while still warm, adding a lemon slice, if you like, for vitamin C. Enjoy it three or four times a day to help relieve a cold.
If only one or two of us make changes in order to save the bees and other pollinators we won’t make much of an impact. But if we spread the word and thousands of us do then we can make a tremendous difference, and who knows, we may even be able to help reverse the trend. The bees are in crisis – it truly is much more important that we stop the decline and do what we can to help to save the bees than it is to remove every weed or dandelion.
Talk to you again next week,
Please share with all your social media friends and help save the bees. Alone our efforts are limited. Together we can make a huge difference. Let’s do it. The bees thank you.