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
A pox on Monsanto and their ilk.
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 .
Ross, does your area have native bees. We have bumble bees, mason bees,
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.
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.
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 .
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
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
whatever else you can do is to make sure
there is clean water available to the bees
on the hot days.
If you can grow salvia in your area it will definitely attract bees. We
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.
More than bees and flies contribute to pollination. After sundown, moths
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.
Mostly we move them to the weeds behind our fence. Our home backs upon a
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.
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 ...
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
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.
lavender mountain lily
lily of the valley
love in a mist
I have some untreated pine four by fours laying around and will probably
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.
I've got a set of downloaded plans here on my desk somewhere. I remember
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>
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