I have read that some vegetables need honeybees to pollinate them and that these days there aren't many wild bees around so that led me to a few questions. I was already concerned about not having bees because I have blueberries and fruit trees that will need them but I really didn't even consider vegetables because I thought they were mostly wind pollinated.
What vegetables need bees to pollinate them?
Do you have trouble with bees finding their way to your garden to take care of this task?
There is a house about 3 miles away from me that has a bunch of hives in their yard. Is this close enough for the bees to find me?
Does anyone know of a good starter kit to bring some bees in? I really would rather not do the whole raising bees for honey thing because it seems like a lot to learn when I have so much to learn about raising fruits and vegetables...
jkehl, the hives that are 3 miles away are a possibility as bees will certainly travel looking for nectar. However, if there are plant between their hives and your garden that are more preferred by them they may not make it to your place.
(By the way, many folks that raise bees are always looking for other places to set up a hive or two. You might go meet them and see if they'd consider your garden area as a choice.)
Insect pollination is definitely required for cucurbits (squash, pumpkins, melons, etc) but not necessarily by bees. There are other insects/bugs out there that will help with that job. (Or you can hand-pollinate also! Can be tedious in large gardens though!) By the way, some newer varieties of cucumbers are self-pollinating ("Jazzer" is one of them) and I grow a variety that is parthenocarpic called "Little Leaf" that doesn't rely on insects for pollination.
Tomatoes and peppers don't rely on insects for pollinating, so you're good to go there. Same is true for beans and eggplant.
Before I get too long-winded let me also just suggest that to bring in the pollinators, be they bees or other helpful insects it is always good to plant flowering plants to lure them in and allow them a place to set up house-keeping. Many local weeds/wildflowers allowed to grow around your garden will attract a diverse population of pollinators. Many of them prefer plants that have smaller-petaled flowers such as Queen Anne's Lace and many other plants in the Umbelliferae family, too. (Might wanna check my spelling on that big word!).
Thanks Shoe. I was thinking about approaching them to see if they'd place a hive at my place. I remember we had a hive a neighbor kept at our place when I was a kid. I am planning to plant a lot of flowers around to attract them, but I'm kind of right in the middle of a forest up on a hill so I was a little worried that they would find me. I checked out a few books from the libraries on bee keeping but quickly got overwhelmed. So I'll aproach the neighbors first. They don't have a very big yard and it has probably 20 hives in it so they may be agreeable.
Be sure to let them know you don't use Sevin dust and the like in your garden as that will kill the bees. And if you have lots of flowering trees nearby (tulip poplar comes to mind) that might entice them to bring you a hive, too!
Hope you check back in and let us know how it goes. It sounds like it would be a win-win situation for everyone.
There wasn't much in the way of flowering trees there when I started. 99% of the trees are Hickory, Oak or Pine. I did find one row of what I believe are flowering dogwoods that must be 30 plus years old along the property line. Everything had grown up around them but I've opened them up now and taken off all the vines so hopefully they'll come back.
I've put in around 25 fruit trees though and 100 blueberry bushes so the bees should have plenty to keep them busy.
I don't know anything about your part of the country, but my husband and I are going to try to attract some mason bees by drilling some holes in scrap lumber. The lumber yard gave us a couple of pieces of scrap 4" x 6" fir, into which we will drill holes 3 and 1/4" deep, about an inch apart with a 5/16" drill bit. Then we'll put them up around the yard near where we are planting fruit trees and berry bushes. I saw plenty of native bees in the yard last year, so I think we'll be able to encourage some to come and stay.
Mason bees are what lived here before we imported European honey bees. You can mail order them in their ready-made homes, or you can make the homes and see if they move in. ("Build it and they will come.")
One of several upsides: they are docile and rarely sting, a plus if you are sensitive to bee stings or if you have kids or pets.
I may look at doing that. I have tons of scrap lumber because there was an old mobile home and two tumble down sheds on the land when I bought it. My wife's not thrilled with the idea of honeybees and informed me I should 'keep them away from her'. Plus I just read in the paper today that a lot of honey bees in the U.S. are dying this year for some as yet unexplained reason.
Just did a quick Google search on Mason Bees and there is a lot I need to read... I wonder if they'd like the hot humid climate down here. Seems like they're native to the Pacific Northwest.
We have some type of ground bees here in middle TN - I thought they were mason bees, but guess not? Whatever they are, they aren't aggressive. I swell something fierce if I get stung or bit by just about any critter, so I'm pretty cautious - these guys have never given me a moment's trouble, even though they tend to build their tunnels very near our larger pond and some shade gardens I have installed. They love the crab apple when it's in bloom, and I figure they're probably helping out in my veggie garden when I'm not looking ;o)
If you have sourwood trees, honey bees will be happy and so will the beekeepers if you convince them to set up a hive for you. (*they* say sourwood honey is very good ;o)
Hmm wonder if those are mason bees. I may just wait and see what comes around this season because my blueberries and fruit trees won't need pollination this year anyway. I was mainly worried about veges for this year and I guess I can try the hand pollination thing if nothing shows up.
I was the kind of kid that caught or got stung by every insect out there and I never remember seeing anything that looks like the mason bee pictures I see online. Of course that was in the midwest so maybe they're down here in the south. If fireants pollinated I'd be set!
I'm not sure what sourwood is like but I don't think I have any. 99% of my trees are pine, oak or hickory. There are a very few cherry, dogwood and what I think is black locust but judging by how few of them there are and where I found them, I think they were planted by some previous owner.
Please becareful where you order bees from, and the kinds that are out there. Check with your state's agricultural department on beekeepers, and they can help you. Some places do not check for the Africanized bee gene, which is dominate.
Horseshoe, it is not as much as beekeepers looking for places to put their hives as much as farmers renting the hives. Bees count for a third of our vegetable/fruit supply, and because of low wild bee populations, renting hives has become a necessity. Mites are the biggest reasons of low bee counts.
If you get a chance to visit a apiary, get some honey. Do not get just the common clover honey, but honey from orchards and such. I got honey from wildflowers, and some from fruit orchards, and man that is good. I have people tell me to only buy local honey to build up a resistance to local allergies.
Honeybees are disappearing in 22 states so far. Also Spain and Poland are reporting massive hive die off. If this continues with the honeybees, I wonder what is happening to the other types of bees. So far I have seen nothing to report that they are disappearing. But then it is still winter and I guess we will find out this summer. If all the honeybees and other bees disappear, then we are real bad trouble. I read or hear so many times about people finding swarms of bees in the spring and killing them. I wont to scream at them that they are killing themselves. If the bees go, then the human population will not be far behind. So if you see a swarm this spring, call a beekeeper to get them. To find out who keeps bees in your area contact your local extension agent. They will be glad to put you in touch with one. LIZ
Thanks for the information goldeneagle and LC2sgarden. It's funny but until a year or so ago I never gave a thought to bees or what they do. I'm sure that most people are this way. Until it interferes with their daily life in some way (ie food prices go up or there's a food shortage) they just don't think about it. Unless it shows up on the network nightly news.
I wonder why they don't pick up on this. It sounds like a news thing, easy to scare folks with. They probably figure it's too hard for most people to connect bees with food production since most people don't see food produced anymore.
Well I was definetly worried about nothing as far as bees go. With the warm-up we've had the last few days, there are bees and other winged insects all over the place in my garden. I've seen things I think are mason bees, very large bumble bees/yellow jackets and wasps. Not much in terms of honey bees but lots of them were doing what looked like pollinating behavior, Buzzing around flowers. It has been very dry here so I was watering some this week and all sorts of them came around to drink the water.
Bees are disapearing all over the world...it's called Colony Colapse disorder or CCD and its a real problem for the whole global community. A Study that was done has led many scientist to believe the increase in GPS systems and Cell phones are to blame. It seems the cellular and GPS signals interfier with the bees ability to find their way home, so they get lost and die.
Cell phones or fruit and veggies...We may have to make a choice some day.
If anyone wants to know more http://www.nowpublic.com/bee_disappearance_ccd_and_cell_phones_scientists_believe_a_link_exists
[quote="GardenChick1982"]A Study that was done has led many scientist to believe the increase in GPS systems and Cell phones are to blame. It seems the cellular and GPS signals interfier with the bees ability to find their way home, so they get lost and die.
It could be extraterrestrials abducting our bees.
My point is that I wouldn't consider that science as it is hypothesis with no significant supporting evidence. It's wild speculation.
There is evidence that mites, viruses and other pathogens are decimating the honey bee population. There are probably other factors but I'm highly skeptical that cellular and GPS signals are responsible for the decline of the honey bee.
There is evidence that mites, viruses and other pathogens are decimating the honey bee population. There are probably other factors but I'm highly skeptical that cellular and GPS signals are responsible for the decline of the honey bee.
Actually there is quite a bit of evidence that mites are destroying the bees. Has been for several years. When you find the mites in the hives on dead bees and those mites are carrying a virus that does in fact kill bees.Thats pretty remarkable evidence.
I did'nt know bees used GPS. What mode of communication does GPS use? Is it electromagnetic or what? : )
With CCD there are no bees left to study...thats the diffrence. They just dont return to the hive. And a paracite would not effect bees world wide and yes bees do use the magnetic poles of the earth just like a compass a few kind of migration birds have had some trouble coping with some of our new techniologies too
There are lots of local things that kill bees but CCD is a bit different... Its has spread world wide and it's the apparent disapearance of so many bees around the world that has scientist baffled
[quote="GardenChick1982"]With CCD there are no bees left to study...thats the diffrence. They just dont return to the hive. [/quote]
That's the same type of rhetoric that is used by UFO conspiracy nuts.
And crackpot science (aka pseudoscience) of the paranoid delusional; the lack of evidence, is evidence.
Using the similar rhetoric that you are using. Since honeybees are being abducted by aliens there is no evidence of what is happening to them; therefore the lack of evidence is evidence that they are being abducted by aliens.
[quote="GardenChick1982"]And a paracite would not effect bees world wide[/quote]
False. You have obviously never heard of a pandemic. Pandemics often affect a worldwide population.
The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 killed about 1% of the human population. It is thought that pandemics may have nearly wiped out the human species. One of the factors that may have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct is pandemics. Often in nature there is a domino effect; like a meteor strikes the earth causing large amount of deaths, triggering volcanic eruptions and tidal waves which cause large amounts of deaths, the immediate effect would be global warming, the midterm effect would be global cooling, and a long-term effect would be global warming; all of which can make conditions excellent for opportunists viruses and bacteria to wreak havoc.
Disease is a part of the life cycle. It's elementary science, a hard and tested fact.
Example/analogy. One of the biggest killers of humans is mosquitoes and malaria. It's a worldwide problem. It's largely been kept at bay in Western civilization with the likes of chlorinated water, land management and insecticides. However it demonstrates that even a host that carries parasites and other diseases can have a devastating effect worldwide on populations.
Parasites have had a devastating effect on man worldwide; so why would you think that the same could not be true for honeybees?
[quote="GardenChick1982"]bees do use the magnetic poles of the earth just like a compass a few kind of migration birds have had some trouble coping with some of our new techniologies too[/quote]
You fail to understand that the type of magnetism that is used by the magnetic poles is vastly different than the type of magnetism that is used in GPS and cellular technology.
For the most part the magnetic poles are standing waves (static magnetism). Whereas the magnetism that is used by radio technology is alternating. For the most part radio technology does not disturb the magnetic poles; if it did then compresses would not work and migratory species would be in big trouble. For the most part migratory species are doing good, and for the most part, compasses work; so that flies in the face of the pseudoscience that you're trying to erroneously connect alleged radio wave interference with magnetic navigation.
[quote="GardenChick1982"]There are lots of local things that kill bees but CCD is a bit different... Its has spread world wide and it's the apparent disapearance of so many bees around the world that has scientist baffled[/quote]
Scientists for the most part are not baffled. Colony Collapse Disorder is largely if not entirely because of parasitic mites and viruses and other pathogens that are often transmitted by the mites. Pesticides are thought to be a contributing factor.
The way that honeybees reproduce limit their genetic diversity which can make them more vulnerable to parasites and viruses and such. Their lack of genetic diversity often means the gene pool doesn't have mutants that have defenses against mutant viruses and such. Their limited gene pool makes them less able to adapt.
The links that you gave are pseudoscience and have an anti-Semitic (aka anti-Corporation/technology) leanings. The links you gave seem to be largely motivated by politics; rather than science. Learn from history; pseudoscience, ignorance, hate and paranoia have often been used as a political agenda to seize power.
[quote="GardenChick1982"]Most other bee problems would be relatively localized[/quote]
This obviously isn't a typical bee problem. Pandemics by definition are widespread and often even worldwide.
Often pandemics are triggered by many common phenomenon aligning itself in an unusual opportunistic way (much like a perfect storm scenario).
[quote="GardenChick1982"]...and/or happing much sooner with the time line such toxins where introduced[/quote]
False. Pandemics have occurred even before there was mankind. Pandemics are nothing new. Study some science and history.
If cell and GPS signals were interfering with honey bee navigation it would be very easy to prove. If there was anything to allegations that cell and GPS signals are interfering with honey bee navigation then why haven't these "scientists" given us any hard evidence? That seems to indicate that they are advocating a political agenda and or have some other ulterior motive.
It should be really easy to prove. They set up cell transmitters towers in the middle of farmers fields don't they? Then why not set up honey bee hives at varying distances from cell transmitters and run a chart to correlate the productivity of the hive from the distance from the cell tower; if the hypothesis that you are advocating this true the statistics should obviously support it.
It could also be done in lab conditions. A warehouse could be used. A warehouse could be screened in; to block out outside radio transmissions. A honeybees hive and flowers could be located in the warehouse so the honeybees could go about their natural activities. A transmitter could be located in the warehouse and it could be used to simulate the typical cell phone and GPS frequency and power. The transmitter could be randomly turned on and off and if the cell phone and GPS transmissions interfered with the honey bee population it should be almost immediately evident and should be easy to prove statistically. If the hypothesis that you are advocating had any substance to it hive productivity should drop dramatically or cease entirely when the transmitters are turned on.
Most farmers are not dummies. I find that most farmers are pretty smart when it comes to nature. I suspect with all the cell phones towers that are being set up in farm fields; that farmers would know it and would be able to prove that statistically if there was any dramatic reduction in honey bee productivity in relation to cell phone transmissions.
Sorry but what you are advocating seems to be some sort of antiestablishment political agenda; that is probably from flunkies that have not been able to make it in the real world scientific community.
Honeybees are loyal to one crop - if there are trees in bloom, they willk work those blossoms until the end before looking for another source. If other trees then come into flower, they will work those.
If you have lots of wildflowers in your area and no trees are in bloom, the bees will decide whether they prefer the wildflowers, or whatever is growing in your garden. They will not necessarily work both at the same time. However, bees from different hives may choose to work different flowers - it depends on what their needs are. Bees collect both nectar and pollen.
Bumble bees will work different flowers at the same time - so for backyard gardens, it is actually better to encourage bumble bees, rather than honeybees. Native bees, including Mason Bees are also great in backyard gardens, they are not agressive unless molested. I have two mason bee nests.
The person who has bees working in the ground --- they are probably bumble bees. Bumble bees come in different sizes.
I think this is true: If you keep bees in your backyard they must be registered with the State. Doesn't matter if it's one hive or many. Honeybees will protect their home aggessively - they are not pets. You will need special clothing and equipment, plus a sterile area to process the excess honey.
Having hives within three miles of your home is a "good thing" wish I had some nearby as I rarely see honeybees here :(
[quote="HoneybeeNC"]Honeybees are loyal to one crop[/quote]
I don't know if that's true or not. I heard a theory that seems to suggest that part of the reason that the honeybees are on the decline is because diverse wildlife and diverse crops are on the decline. The theory goes that in order for honeybees to have a healthy immune system they need to have a diverse diet to get a wide array of nutrients so they can produce their own antibiotics and antivirals and serums and such to have a healthy immune system. The theory goes that since honeybees have a less diverse diet they are more vulnerable to parasites, bacteria, molds, funguses, and viruses.
It's much like the poisonous dart/arrow frogs have to have a certain type of ant in their diet before they will produce the poison that protects them. If the poisonous dart frogs don't get their naturals food supply they will stop producing the poison. Since most domesticated poisonous dart frogs are fed insects that are not their natural food source, they become nonpoisonous.
Ignoramus - It has been many years since I have kept bees, so it's quite possible that new studies have found old ones to be no longer valid.
At the time I kept bees there were no mites that shortened their life. The reason I gave them up was because at the time I lived in South Florids and I knew sooner or later "killer bees" would show up and I was not prepared to deal with them. Soon thereafter, the mite problems started to show up, and more recently colony decline.
No doubt a combination of pesticides, mites, and your suggestion of diverse crops being unavailable, has added to the burden honeybees have to endure.
Over here in UK there is worries that our bee's are in decline and there appears to be several reasons.
1, there is a parasite from overseas that has began to attack the hives by burying there eggs into the back of the bees and the grubs feed on the bees and kill them.
2, People are using too many pesticides to protect the crops / flowers / fruit etc and this in turn has a devastating effect on our bees and other pollinating insects.
3, our climate is changing at such a fast rate that the bees and plants cant compete, the bees are out doing their job by day and the Temp falls rapidly evening that some types of bees are killed off, very wet weather last few years and shorter seasons are all being put forward as a reason for the decline of all out bees.
there is now talk that some of our native birds are in decline too and over use of pesticides are being targeted as a main cause as the pesticides get taken in by the adult birds and this is passed onto the chicks who cant survive with the chemicals used.
I know this must be a factor but I also think there must be more reasons due to our changing world.
Experts no tell us that IF we loose our bee's, the world will starve in about 10 -15 years as crops wont get pollinated and we could never hand pollinate fast enough to feed a district let a lone a country or a world, so I think here, there is a lot of rubbish being talked but, there is also a lot of genuine real known causes for our decline in our bee and insect population and maybe we should all stop and question what we do, has what we do got a cost to something else, but that wont come about till we are awakened to the real facts and we see with our own eyes that for years, we have ignored natures warnings.
WeeNel - I am so sorry to read about the plight of bees in my native Country (I was born and raised in Cornwall.)
When I was a child there was little, if any, pesticides used in the growing of crops. Our garden was always alive with native bumble bees. They were so tame, I could stroke their furry bodies without fear.
It is true, that without bees to pollinate our food, there would be very few choices left. Even the animals we use for food eat plants that require pollination.
Honeybee NC I am sure that IF we loose our pollinating insects there will definitely be a huge problem with food crops and our garden plants /trees / flowers etc, when you think of fields of corn, wheat, veg etc, no bees or other pollinators due to whatever reason, then yes, I do think there is a problem about to happen IF were not careful, I am no expert just reading articles is enough for me.
You were raised in a beautiful part of the country and must have had an ideal childhood as even now there are still loads of farms, open country and forests but, it is changing and folks say not for the best, we watched a TV program not to long ago re the changing population and lack of property for local people who live in the country, work the land yet cant afford to buy property in the areas they were brought up in as all the homes are bought up be high earners from the cities who want to have holiday homes in the small populated areas, they don't contribute to these areas as the fill there big cars with food, wine etc, come and stay for 2 weeks and are off again, it's a hard situation to fix but must be hell for any local young people who want to stay / work in the area they have known all there lives, all this a far distant way from bees eh. hope you still have wonderful memories of your life in Cornwall an area where the true/ real English gardens were an everyday sight. Best regards and good luck. WeeNel.
WeeNel - Corn doesn't actually need bees for pollination. I suspect wheat and other grains don't either. Tomatoes and peppers don't. These, and perhaps other vegetables, are wind pollinated. I read recently that peas and beans self-polinate. So, even if honeybees disappear, there will still be food crops, just not as many to pick from.
Ants help pollinate in a limited way.
In my own garden, I see lots of bumble and native bees, but rarely a honey bee.
Yes, I do miss Cornwall, especially the long walks along the cliffs.
I'm glad you pointed that out, Honeybee, I've been debating on whether to add my two cents worth; I never like seeing "experts say" things that could be misinterpreted as doom and gloom.
But yes, you're correct, there are many foods that don't rely on insect pollination and you've touched on some of them. Nearly all grains...wheat, oats, barley, even rice, are self pollinizing.
Tomatoes, snap beans, soybeans, lime/butterbeans, peas, etc are self-pollinated. Care might be taken with peppers that might tend to more easily cross pollinate than tomatoes thereby changing your variety/seed stock, but that is easily dealt with. Lettuces are also self pollinizing.
I would be concerned about many of the Brassica's though, needing insects. And many "fruits", referring to fruit trees and brambles, etc, not the age-old topic of "tomato is a fruit". *grin
Squashes are an easy plant to hand pollinate; it would be tedious for the massive farms to take on the job though but ants and other insects might help out during a bee shortage, eh?
And potatoes also come to mind, never reliant on flowers or insects to begat a crop.
Shoe (off to pull some Chinese cabbage in this wonderfully cool weather!~)
I have to admit, I don't actually sit up at night and loose sleep over what might survive if we don't have pollinating insects and ofcource wheat might self pollinate along with a few other things that we use in the food chain however, IF the problem of over use of chemicals, killing off a lot of pollinating insect which in turn means a lot of dead birds and other living things, it is worth considering what we would have to pay for food IF farmers had to hire lots of people to hand pollinate the food most city people rely on daily for family meals, and I really don't want to live with 10 acres of ground where my flowerbeds are bare, my poppies don't make seeds and my indoor grown tomato, cucumbers etc cant get pollinated naturally because we, the humans managed to kill off all the insects we had working for our benefit since the world began, BUT, then again, I could easily hand pollinate all my own stuff and make faces at all the people who really didn't know we were killing off the bees and insects which in turn affects other species who eat insects but hey what the heck, were all looking out for ourselves anyway, ha, ha, ha, did that get to the heart strings or what. Anyway, on a serious note, I do think we have to consider what we do today will MAYBE effect our future generations tomorrow. I really do think we over pollute the rivers, seas, air etc, so maybe we need to look at how to change things a bit, even if it's just to make us feel good. Happy gardening. WeeNel.
Horseshoe - I didn't know lettuce was self-pollinating. As a past bee keeper, I've learned which plants/trees keep these ladies happy. For instance, orange trees don't need bees, but a larger fruit set is obtained with them. I suspect this is true for other fruit trees, but I only kept bees in South Florida, so didn't pay much attention to other fruit trees as most of them don't grow there. As far as I know, other tropical fruit trees are not reliant upon honeybees, either.
[quote]There are no honey bees native to the Americas. In 1622, European colonists brought the dark bee (A. m. mellifera) to the Americas, followed later by Italian bees (A. m. ligustica) and others. Many of the crops that depend on honey bees for pollination have also been imported since colonial times[/quote]
Thanks, Honeybee...good to know that about oranges. At least we won't have a major shortage of those! Yummy! :>)
Yep, like you, I've heard production is better when bees are available for most fruit trees. I thought apples were dependent on them but I suppose a quick Google will tell me for sure. (Maybe I keep thinking of apple blossom honey, one of my favorites!)
It would be interesting to find out which fruit trees are indigenous to North America and were around before the honey bees came. Hmmm, maybe that's a good project for me to work on this winter sometime.
Shoe (cold here, WET, and our first frost/freeze tonight; hope you have your things covered)
Horseshoe - I don't know if apple or pear trees are dependant on honeybees. During the years I had honeybees in South Florida, there was no internet to answer such questions. Sad to say; I'm allergic to oranges and all other citrus fruit :(
It's supposed to get into the low 30's here tonight, but because we are on top of the hill, I don't think it will freeze here. My daughter lives at the bottom of the hill, and she has already had one night of frost. We did have to throw another blanket on the bed last night!
For anyone who would like to attract bees, plant salvia! I have a big patch of May Night Salvia and a beginning patch of pink. The bees hang around them ALL day long. Also, many people are afraid of getting stung but as long as you don't make any threatening moves, there's no worry. I can't work out in the sun so have to get out very early in the morning to weed flowerbeds, pick vegetables, etc. Many of the flowers in my butterfly beds (including the salvias) are loaded with bees that time of day. I work right along side of them and have never been stung (I've been gardening for 30+ years). Also Jeff, I'm not exactly sure where Rome, GA is but sourwood trees do grow here in Vicksburg, MS. They are a beautiful tree and honey bees do love them. The tree is hard to miss this time of year--they turn a beautiful shade of red and have clusters of tiny seeds hanging from them. The leaves are oblong.
what can I do to ensure that if I build a bee habitat, that the pesky wasps/yellow jackets won't move in? I see two or three yellow jackets a day, and my garden's not even in full swing yet.
(reason I ask is that hubby is VERY allergic to bee stings) he's a mailman, and just the other day, he reached in to put mail in a curbside mailbox, and there was apparently a nest underneath the box that he didn't see. He got stung and had to race home to take some Benadryl (we live on his mail route, thank heavens).
so, if I say to him, 'darlin', we need to build a bee box, I don't want him to freak out. :)
Are you planning to plant flowers to attract them or just put out a bee box? If you put out flowers, you could plant the well away from your house. My flowerbed is right next to our patio but even when hubby and I sit out on our swing, the bees never bother us--they're too preoccupied with the flowers.
For those of you who have expressed interest in keeping bees:
Raising honeybees is a specialized occupation and should not be taken on unless their care is thoroughly understood. They must also be registered with the State in which you live and have to be inspected by the State once a year. A yearly permit is required. Honeybees will sting any animal (dog, cat, human, etc) that comes close to their home.
Native bees, on the other hand, are easy to keep. Simply purchase the necessary equipment online, set it up according to directions, and the bees will do the rest. I have a native bee nest under the eave of my porch.
I've never figured out where bumble bees nest. There are bumble bee nest boxes that can be purchased, but I am doubtful they work. I wish I knew where the bumble bees that visit our garden over-winter so I could make an effort to protect their nest.
As long as bees find food (nectar and pollen) close to their home, they will stay in the vicinity. I don't think native bees require nectar, but am not sure about this.
Bees are not inclined to sting unless molested. However, I've had wasps sting me without provocation!
honeybee, about 10 years ago i suddenly had lots of bumbles show up in my garden. i worked with them everyday with no problem. my husband went to change the propane tank on our mobile home one day and got stung 4 times. apparently they were nesting in the wall of the trailer and the vibration upset them. after that i had to change the tank and never got stung. the garden was only about 20 feet away. my great grandmother said that bumbles like to stay close to they're food source so watch early and late and maybe you can track down the nest.
flsusie - I've never been stung by a bumble bee, but have read that the sting is very painful. I've tried to hunt down bumble bee nests by watching where the bees come and go from, but have never succeeded. There is a large wooded area behind our property, so I suspect they nest back there. If our winter is very wet, we see very few bumble bees the following summer. Because they nest in the ground, I suspect that some times their home gets flooded.
I could be wrong but here in UK, you need a queen bee to get your bee's to stay in the HIVE, the Hive being the home where the bee's feed, work and care for all the baby bees the queen will produce, she needs nursery bee's and soldier bees to guard the hive and worker bee's to bring the pollen to the hive to feed all the other bee's and baby ones, well that is a simplistic way the hives work but you also have to be responsible when keeping bee's as the last thing you want or are allowed to do is cause your bee's to swarm, worry or upset the neighbors, or by fighting with other types of bee's insects or even pets, so there is more to bee keeping than just sending off for a few bee's to use as pollinators for your garden,
I would get a book, video or info pack re bee keeping before you decide IF you a) have the time and b) do you really want to introduce a hive that will end up with hundreds of bees in it on your garden. Yes there are dozens of different types of Bee's, they are solitary bees who bury into the ground and lay 1 egg then leave, there are honey bees, there are bumble bees just to name a few but you need to decide as not all those bees live in a hive where you keep them in the one area, most will just up and leave as there is no structure to their lives and don't live in groups. good luck. WeeNel.
Easybake - [quote]the bumble bee does not have a barbed stinger so can sting more then once.[/quote]
I didn't know that.
Female Honeybees only sting once, then die. The queen honeybee has a stinger, but she usually reserves hers for stinging other queens to death. Male honeybees - called drones - have no stinger, but the chances of you ever seeing one is zero to none - unless of course, you are a beekeeper. The only thing drones do is mate with one queen bee - then they die!
Interesting thought's, my personal experience is I've never been Stung by a Bumblebee. I play with them constantly in the Garden's, hold them on my Finger, Transfer them from the Hyssop to the Russian Sage, and was not even sure they had a Stinger, I Do miss the Honeybee's though.
I contacted President Obama about the Disappearence of the Honeybee's, and was infotmed by the White House that 12 Billion Dollars was allocated into the Private Investigation into the Disappearance of the Honeybee in New Jersey.
Stung by a bumblebee here. At least it was a large beelike creature. A few years ago one got tangled in my hair and without thinking, I reached up to comb it out with my fingers. It stung on the tip of the ring finger and was incredibly painful. My mind can still feel the pain. OTOH, I can walk among bees, yellowjackets, wasps, etc and have no problems.
We also have boring bees here. They bore into wooden structures. I suspect they are a pollinator but have never seen them pollinate anything but holes in wood.
MrPappyG - [quote]Monsanto Round-up Ready Crops, killed the Honeybees...[/quote]
I would not be surprised if it were found to be true.
I avoid foods that contain GMOs as much as possible.
If you feel the same way I do, please do what you can to get our Government to have GMO listed on labels. GMOs have been banned in Europe. If it becomes impossible to avoid them in food in this country, I may have to move back to England!
they usually get people to sign petitions for legislation relating to first amendment issues, but I've seen other petitions there as well. Perhaps if we as a community start getting the word out as a true grass roots, we can get some progress...
Honeybee, I e-mail the President regularly and am very active in signing petition's against GMO's and am very vocal here in my community. To date the President has allocated 12 billion dollars into private research into the disappearance of Honeybees. Some of you may want to check a site I visit regularly to get involved, right now California has a state referendum to label GMO's on this site as a petition that anyone can sign, the site is Organic Consumer's Organization.
I am sooo Sorry, the name is the OCA, Organic Consumer's Association, from what I understand Honeybee, they are voting on it again. I am getting ready to Eat I promise I'll give you some updates tonight. Just got through making some Atlantic Cod Tempura with chipotle cream, and mac and cheese and it's calling my name, and a little ratatouille on the side...
People internationally are growing in their attempt to stop the Production of GMO, from what I understand there are 17 European nation's currently involved in suing the company's responsible, like BASF, Monsanto, Bayer.
Honeybee, I wrote the President an e-mail about Honeybee's disappearing in my garden's even though I'm surrounded by farmland, what shocked me was he responded. I can send you a copy of the e-mail if you'd like, I have mixed emotion's about this Government that we live under, but I feel most of them are used car salesmen, and will tell you anything to take a dime from your pocket. http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm
This is the California bill for labeling in of GMO...it would be the first in the Country since 1996...
I wanted to tell you , this year I went a little crazy about getting Pollinator's to my Garden, so I actually sat at a garden supply store with flower's abloom everywhere and watched which one's had Bee's, there were two, Hyssop, and Russian Sage, my garden's are full of them now...
I only had a few Honeybees this year, better than last year though only one a baby it died on my finger weak and sick, but the Bumblebee's were everywhere.
It's true I got a little excited when I heard the Bees buzzing about, it transformed me to a youthful gaze planting garden's with my mother, I watched the bees going from Flower to Flower on the cucumber vines, and was peculiar at the onset of tiny bees transferring pollen, that I had never seen before, hopefully I will attract more Honeybees next year.
I've found my success in marigolds, rosemary, bipinnatus cosmos, sunflowers (found 5 bees on just 1 flower) and common perennial bulbs and corms like daffodils and crocuses. Your success must keep you going year after year.
One year I sowed crimson clover as a cover crop, and when it bloomed it was covered with honeybees. I hated having to turn it under. If you allow some of your vegetables/herbs to go to seed, you will see lots of bees, including honeybees, bumble bees and tiny native bees. Fireflies also hang out in vegetables that I allow to go to seed.
Bloomfly22 - thank you for being so "bee friendly."
Clovers are just wonderful for bees. I had white flowered clover mixed into my lawn, and when i was going to spray with herbicide, my lawn was buzzing with bees! I plan to incorporate some clover in with my moss verbena to make a butterfly and bee garden.
If you have the space I would recommend to you to start learning all you can about the Bee business. The bees are facinating to watch and they work so hard for you so you can have a great supply of food. I think the Honey alone would benifit anyone, its so healthy for you. Check out the You Tube videos on Bee Keeping. If I had the space I would do it myself.
jwgold - the first thing to consider before adding a bee hive to ones garden is: "Where will the bees find food?" A few vegetables and flowers in ones garden is not enough to support even a single hive of bees.
If there are orchards within two miles or so, then honeybees can make a living while the trees are in bloom. After that, they must either sustain themselves on the honey already collected, or move away. This is why professional bee keepers move their bees from crop to crop.
When I lived in South Florida, I was fortunate to be in an area that had many plants or trees in bloom year round. I cannot say the same for this area, and would not consider this a good location for a beehive.
As mentioned in one of my posts above, I recommend having native bee nests.
I have always wanted to keep honeybees, but i am afraid of the sting, and as HBNC stated, there are not enough food sources in my area for them to really thrive.
I get out in my little back yard garden pretty early each morning, and i must say that watching the bees at work is mesmerizing. Now that the squashes and pumpkins are flowering, I see several types of bees at them. It is funny to see them circle the huge flower, land and work the stamen/pistil(?). Many of them take a short break,just sitting still inside the bloom for several moments...then emerge all dusted in gold. It never fails to make me laugh as the bee flies off all lazy and pollen-drunk to the next job on her route.
Talk about dedication, I read that a bee will wear out her wings before her life expectancy is reached. Sadly There is no bee retirement plan..the same source also says that when she can no longer do her job, the worker bee is denied entrance to the hive, and she just dies. Aahh well, that's nature.
scarletbean - it's always good to find another honeybee admirer ^_^
In the garden this morning there were large and small bumble bees, two strains of honeybees, several native bees, a wasp, and two tiny butterflies. All were enjoying the pollen/nectar of the various herbs currently in bloom, especially the Greek oregano.
I like your photo. I know how hard it is to capture a honeybee in action!
I read some articles blaming a combination of Varroa mites AND insect viruses for Colony Collapse Disorder.
Looking around a little more, I see articles blaming almost anything you can think of. I'm guessing that the jujry is still out.
Speaking of Brassicas like broccoli going to seed, here are some heirloom Italian "leaf broccoli" in bloom after overwintering. Our few bees did like it in early spring when not much erlse was in bloom!
Brassica oleracea var. 'Spigariello'
Easybake - it's hard to tell the size of the bees in your photos, but if they are smaller than honeybees, then I suspect they are some kind of native bee. There are so many native bees, I don't know which are which. I have several kinds that visit my garden - ALL are welcome.
dervish2 - when you refer to bees falling asleep on the Agastache, I assume you mean bumble bees. This is normal. When I go into the garden early in the morning, I frequently see sleeping bumble bees. Honeybees will, on occasion, sleep in the gaden overnight, but their normal habit is to return to their hive.
Bumble bees nest in the ground, so yes, chemical sprays could affect their life cycle. You might want to do some research into bumble bee nests and supply suitable homes for them on your own property. If I remember correctly, only the queen bumble bee survives the winter. She has to start from scratch each spring to build a small colony of bumble bees.
I'm fortunate to have lots of bumble bees present in the garden. I assume they nest in the nearby woods.
A new plant I used this summer was borage. It has a lovely blue flower that is actually edible and is beautiful in a salad. The bees, both honey and bumble were all over these blooms. The leaves of the plant are also edible. They taste like a mild cucumber, but the leaves are fuzzy. The first leaves that open are not as fuzzy and can be used in a salad. All my borage seeds germinated easily and it grows best in full sun. I will try to post a picture tomorrow.
Mornin' bee lovers! I too have hyssop, the anise type which has lovely lavender blue fluffy flowers in a kind of long puff(plus the anise/licorice scent), they attract tons of bees. Right next to it is some catnip, the plain type with white flowers. The bees AND little white butterflies are on these flowers all day long! I counted 12 butterflies and 8 bees, both bumble and honey one time. It is only a small plant, maybe a foot high and 9 inches in width. Next year, both of these will play a larger role in the garden. Funny the cats are kind of non committal about the catnip plant, but if i pick it they are just silly over it.
Zinnias! i see bumble bees like crazy on my regular ole zinnias. I love the sleepy ones in the early morning, especially when compared to the busy honeybees. I imagine the honeybees have great disdain for their larger out all night cousins, the bumblebees. "humph! SOME bees have to WORK for a living!" I guess the bumblebees just give them the bee equivalent of an eye roll. Tee hee!
Another big hit with the bumblebees...red pentas.
I see bumbles come to my zucchini plants more often than I thought. I have zucchini popping up all over the plants, to many that i know what to do with lol! The bees really worked hard with my plants, that's for sure.
Yep, bfly22...it seems any kind of squash blossom gets the bees out of bed in a hurry! I like to see the fuzzy bees dusted with pollen doing lazy circles around the zukes, pumpkins and yellow squash. Here in Tn I still have 1 zuke plant, but i doubt it will produce anymore this late in our season. In fact, it was cold enough to put a bumblebee out of commission yesterday, it was just laying on a zinnia. I brought it in in a pitcher, let it get warm til it got sunny out. It was interesting to watch it revive and have a sip of sugarwater. As soon as it got outside in the sun it flew off. Nice.