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Bees Please

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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...

Thanks in advance,

Jeff

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

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!).

Hope this helps!
Shoe

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Jeff

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

20 hives? Wow!!

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.

Shoe

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Jeff

Mendo. County, CA(Zone 8b)

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.

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks Patrica,

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.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

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)

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Smyrna, TN(Zone 6b)

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.

Bolivar, TN(Zone 7a)

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

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Jeff

(Becky) Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

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

Cincinnati, OH

Quote from 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.

(Becky) Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

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.

Most other bee problems would be relatively localized and/or happing much sooner with the time line such toxins where introduced but CCD had only been a problem since the creation and world wide spread of the cellular G3 usage....not cell towers alone but the way the g3 and GPS tracks and finds you is the same way the bees find there way around and Its not only Honey Bees.. If you did a little research you would find there is a lot of data and studies being done to back this theory up
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MobilePhonesVanishingBees.php
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/are-mobile-phones-wiping-out-our-bees-444768.html
http://infochangeindia.org/200909047919/Environment/News/Mobile-phone-waves-harmful-to-honeybees.html
http://arvindkumartiwari.blogspot.com/2010/04/yesthere-are-hazrds-of-cell-phone.html

Now I am not saying everyone should ditch there cell I own one myself and I don't know if my cell is causing the bees to disappear but it is a possability Maybe you should do some research yourself.

And I don't believe its anywhere near the same believing in alians taking our bees and its sum what insulting..... bet u don't believe cigarettes cause cancer either

This message was edited May 22, 2010 8:47 PM

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

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? : )

(Becky) Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

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

This message was edited May 22, 2010 8:45 PM

Cincinnati, OH

Quote from 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 from 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 from 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

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

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

False. Pandemics have occurred even before there was mankind. Pandemics are nothing new. Study some science and history.

Cincinnati, OH

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I used to keep honeybees.

To add to what has been already said...

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 :(

Thumbnail by HoneybeeNC
Cincinnati, OH

Quote from HoneybeeNC :
Honeybees are loyal to one crop

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.



This message was edited May 25, 2010 2:56 PM

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

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!~)


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Quoting:
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


quoted from here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bees

I encourage all gardeners to set up suitable habitat for both bumble and native bees.

Photo taken June 2011

Thumbnail by HoneybeeNC
Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

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)


This message was edited Oct 29, 2011 12:11 PM

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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!

Virginia Beach, VA

If I buy bees, there is no guarantee that they will remain in my yard. Am I right or wrong??

Belle

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

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.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

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. :)

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

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.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

I figured make a bee box and attach it to a tree or something, and then put a small flower bed underneath it.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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!

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

oh, no - wasn't planning on keeping honeybees - that's too much work. :)

but figured I'd lure some 'native' bees in a bee house to pollinate all my what is going to be gorgeous food!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

SFC - there are plans online for making a native bee nest - just be sure to follow the directions - if the holes are too large, all you will get are male bees and they don't pollinate anything!

My native bee nest is round (about the size of a soda can) and I purchase the tubes online for the female to layer her eggs in.

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