Thursday, October 16, 2008

Covered in Bees

The Organic Consumers Association had a web forum discussion titled "Honey Bee Deaths Reaching Crisis Point: How to Have a Bee-Friendly Yard." One contributor, Honey Gal, had excellent suggestions which I plan to implement in our yard with the next planting season.

I'm a beekeeper and teach classes in bee stewardship. One thing folks can do to help, even if you aren't a beekeeper, is to make your yard bee friendly. Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall. Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees.
I am entirely charmed by the idea of a bee pond.

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Thalia said...

I love these ideas.

And I want to keep bees if we ever get our own place, someday, with a bit of land.

That has been received better than the sheep and/or goats idea.

Sarah said...

I am quite sure that my husband would prefer sheep/goats to beekeeping. He's not a big bee fan. In fact, when I put out my bee pond, I'll be calling it a "hummingbird pond" and the bee-friendly herb garden will be labeled a "hummingbird friendly" herb garden. And when the bees start coming around in droves I'll just tell him they're teeny tiny yellow and black hummingbirds.

A relationship based on lies isn't bad if it helps bees, right? :)

Thalia said...

Not at all.

And your relationship to the bees will be completely open and honest, and full of thyme and damp moss, apparently.

Well, if you keep the goats, I'll worry about the beehives. Then we can "blame" each other when someone's livestock wanders off....