Help The Bees
By now, most of us have heard about Colony Collapse Disorder that threatens the survival of the honeybee, and in turn almost our entire food supply. There are many different causes being suggested: pesticides (used by farmers, homeowners and even beekeepers), lack of diversity of forage, predation by mites and disease, and even microwave and cell phone towers. There is no singular definitive answer to the issue, so doing what we each can to help the bees is important.
Bees in urban environments are showing a greater survival rate than commercially raised bees primarily due to the mono-culture environment of commercially raised bees, and the fact that the pesticide load in urban environments is less than that of large scale farming operations.
To that end, there are things that we can right in our own backyard that will help the survival of the honey bee.
- Plant bee-friendly, pollinator friendly plants, such as (in no particular order)
- Echinacea (purple coneflower)
- Monarda (beebalm)
- Herbs (basil, oregano, thyme etc)
- Blue mist spirea
- Black eyed Susan
- Agastache – (hyssop)
- Cleome "Rocky Mountain Bee Plant"
- Plant a garden with non-gmo crops
- Leave the dandelions in your lawn, or at least use a enviro-friendly control, such as pulling, or horticultural vinegar. Dandelions are an important food source for bees.
- Avoid chemical sprays and treatments. If you must spray, spray early morning or late evening to avoid spraying foraging bees. Bees return to the hive between dusk, and mid-morning.
- If you see a swarm of bees, don’t panic! Bees are typically very gentle during the swarming process.
Call a beekeeper, who in most cases will be happy to come out and gather them up and place them in a new home for free.
- Don’t spray bee colonies. If they are in a nuisance or dangerous location, they can be relocated by someone trained to remove established, problem hives.