Silent Spring?

Without going out and actually counting them, we have roughly 50 fruit trees on our property. Mostly apples, some pears, a few peaches, a few sweet cherries, a couple of plum varieties and one apricot tree. We've had off years in the past and that's to be expected but, this year, there is a total of no more than a dozen fruit to be seen out of all those trees. I spend a lot of time outdoors and I can honestly say I have not seen more than two or three honeybees so far this year. Rachel Carson was right. All these damn sprays being indiscriminately used are taking their toll. Also, this time of year, when our alfalfa fields are in bloom, they would normally be alive with Monarch Butterflies. This year, none so far. A pox on Monsanto and their ilk.
Ross.
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Ross@home wrote:

Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks there are problems ... we've recently become bee keepers , and it's really scary the number of things out there <CHEMICALS> that can harm our ladies . Monsanto has nothing less than the domination of the food supply on their evil little minds . Well good luck we plant nothing but heirloom varieties and I save my seeds .
--
Snag



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On 7/22/2014 6:23 PM, Ross@home wrote:

and carpenter bees in our gardens most of the spring and summer. Alas, we may be losing some or all as a contractor is taking out the large wooded area behind us to build another subdivision. I'm pretty sure that's where most of the native bees are coming from and the few European honey bees also probably hive there too.
Our HOA doesn't allow bee keeping or I would offer space to a beekeeper as I have done in other places we lived. We don't get a lot of spraying here, thank goodness.
George
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On 23/07/2014 9:23 AM, Ross@home wrote:

A friend of ours asked us to keep an eye out and report back to her on the number of bees we had in our garden. I got my SO onto the job as he is very good at that sort of thing. For the first week I saw a few only but then I seemed to get my eye in and He and I were both seeing lots of them but they seemed to concentrate on particular plants. For example, when the rosemary was flowering just outside the windows of our sun room, it was covered with bees.
I do hope it's only a temporary blip in your bee numbers and that they come back in swarms next spring.
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Fran Farmer wrote:

Part of the problem is that "wild" bees are subject to all the same problems as the "domesticated" bees , and they have no support . We have several species of bees living out in the woods here , but until we got a hive I very seldom saw a honeybee . Oh , and bees will concentrate on one plant/species at a time , then move on to another . I just learned that at a beekeeping class recently . BTW , our new hive is doing just swell , my supplies should be here today sos I can add a super . Gotta give them plenty of storage space so they'll have enough food to overwinter .
--
Snag



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Ross@home wrote:

sadly it's not just the big companies and big-ag that use these poisons, there's also the regular consumer which also spreads them around. (read the lawn care group and you'll see that most requests there are how to kill off which weed or how to restart a grassy lawn)
the other thing is that many people with orchards do not usually leave flowering understory plants which will attract and feed bees during the times when the trees are not in bloom.
our season started slow but picked up after the honeysuckle started blooming. now there are plenty of bees around (with most of the gardens now in bloom it's humming out there). we put in crocus, early iris, daffodils and some other real early bloomers to keep the bees fed in the early spring when not much else is blooming.
as for encouraging wild or native bee species you can do so even in the 'burbs because the types of places they like to nest are not commonly seen as such so the HOA's eyeballs probably won't notice an odd contraption of hollow odd sized sticks and mud if it is placed out back.
there are certain plants which seem to really attract bees: cosmos, mints, oregano, thymes. the mints and oregano may be invasives, but i'd much rather have them around than grasses so it's no problem with me to have them replace the mowed lawn areas. the cosmoes need disturbed soils to keep going, so i harvest and replant those seeds, but the bees love 'em so much and they are an excellent later summer flower.
whatever else you can do is to make sure there is clean water available to the bees on the hot days.
songbird
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On 7/24/2014 8:18 AM, songbird wrote:

have no bee keepers in the surrounding area that we can find. Plus our HOA says no bee hives.
The large salvia plant in our back garden attracts honey bees, mason and carpenter bees, and lots of bumble bees. So many that at any given time they are all over the vegetable garden getting their own. In addition we have had, off and on, bee flies. Look like tiny little bees but actually are pollen eating fly's. A time or two they have saved our crops, particularly when European honey bees have been in decline.
I worry about all the bees though, a new builder is destroying the woods behind us to build another subdivision. I think most of the bees we see are coming from that former wilderness area.
We go out during the day and use a hose with a sprinkler head to put water on all the plants. Bees seem to love it and we don't have to worry about birds and other critters eating the bees off a bird bath, which I have seen before.
George
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On 8/7/2014 9:25 AM, George Shirley wrote:

come out of hiding to begin feeding on nectar and pollinating plants. What do you do with tomato horn worms? they will mature into hawk moths that do a lot of pollinating in the evening.
Paul
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On 8/8/2014 4:09 PM, Paul Drahn wrote:

retention pond area and a natural gas pipeline. Lots of tasty weeds. So far we haven't seen any tomato horn worms, may just be luck. Stink bugs and aphids do their thing on peas and tomatoes and we generally hose them off with a strong water stream.
George
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songbird wrote:

I just received an order of seeds <from eBay seller GroCo > and it was mostly plants for the <our honey> bees ... including yellow clover , bee balm , penstemon , lavender , and sweeyt alyssum . Now I just gotta figure out where to plant 'em ! I have some locations in mind , but need to do a bit more looking before I commit . We have a LOT of wildflowers out here in the woods , and I have counted at least 4 species of bee and a couple other pollinators I'm not sure what they are . Our Ladies of the Hive have greatly increased their numbers in the six weeks or so we've had the hive , and are storing both honey and pollen . Last night I finished the refurb on the first medium super , will be adding it tomorrow evening . And the garden is exploding ...
--
Snag



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says...

http://www.foe.org/beeaction
It gets worse.
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George Shirley wrote: ...

what the HOA doesn't know won't hurt them. "that's just a wind chime", or "a pile of sticks" just make sure a few of them are hollow and of various sizes.
if you have an east facing spot to capture some morning light put a small slope of dirt with some loose chunks of wood or bark on top in a few places, but make sure some of the area is bare and exposed to the light to warm it up. they'll use sandy soil or soil with clay as long as they can dig into it. the bits of bark and wood help hold some of the moisture in and will also help moderate the temperatures. those bits of bark are also the places they'll use to start hiding under to build/dig a nest hole.
our paper wasps like the eves of the house but we knock those nests down, they have plenty of other nests around too on the back- side or underneath rocks in the gaps. the raccoons come around from time to time and search for them.

we've got some salvia around but we also have a long list of other flowers (i'll append the list i cooked up a few weeks ago, by no means is it complete) which keep bees and the other bugs happy.
often i will sit down near a plant and see who is visiting. we have some of the smaller types of bees and flies around, some which sound like mosquitoes, but are larger and louder. and the hummingbird moths are quite fun to watch.

likely, you can help them out by adding some places for them to nest.

i've not noticed a huge number of bees on the birdbaths here, but we also have a normally running drainage ditch so they are likely getting the water from there. when it gets very dry for extended periods of time we'll start seeing deer tracks around the birdbaths.
the most likely bee feeders here are the purple martin families which come through feeding on a regular basis (i wish they'd figure the thing out about the japanese beetles). i consider it the natural cycle of things so am not discouraged, i'm just glad that we have healthy food for the birds to eat and unsprayed plants for the bees.
plant list:
aconite alfalfa alliums asters astibile babies breath baptisia beans beareded irises bee balm bergamot blackeyed susans buckwheat buttefly bush butterfly weed catnip chicory chives clematis clovers comfrey cone flowers cosmos creeping jenny creeping phlox crocosima crocus daffodil daisies dandelion daylilies dollar plant early iris flashing lights flaxes forget-me-nots garlic chives geraniums hedge mustard hollyhocks honeysuckle hyacynth joepye weed lavender lavender mountain lily lilac lilies lily of the valley love in a mist milkweed mints mosquito weed moss roses onions oregano other iris other thymes peas perennial poppies pinks poppies queen-annes-lace russian sage salvia sedum shasta daisies squash strawberries sunflowers taller phlox thymes trefoil tulip turnips viperloss wild irises wild roses yarrows yellow loosestrife
songbird
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On 8/8/2014 10:22 AM, songbird wrote:

start boring the correct size holes in them this fall. Way to hot to work in the garage or outside for that matter in August. Did that at our old place and the carpenter and mason bees were always busy.
George
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On Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:53:11 -0500, George Shirley wrote:

My dim recollection is that the holes should be 5 to 6" deep, else you get too many males. Or perhaps you were going to drill sections of the 4x4s lengthwise?
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On 8/22/2014 6:50 PM, Frank Miles wrote:

the holes as being somewhat shorter than that. The mason bees usually build a nest of dirt/clay and water on masonry or cement board and lay a single egg in each one to the best of my memory. I've always liked the native bees and other pollinators over European honey bees. One year the bee flies are all that saved our crops, not a bee in sight, suspect it was mosquito spraying by aircraft. That's when I saw what looked like tiny bees buzzing around, sat down and watched carefully and realized they were actually flies. So I researched them and started protecting them.
We've haven't seen more than one or two European honey bees this summer. I still suspect the new subdivision going in behind us. Today I watched some fifty year old yellow pine trees being knocked over by bulldozers just so some more folks could move to Texas. I wish them well but I would prefer the bees. <G>
George
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