Larry Bailey comments:
The following message was sent to our members as well as many local community residents. Ocean View Grange is starting a Farmers Market this year (details will come later)and we have adopted the initiative of helping to restore our bee population.
Below and attached is paper about bees and why we need them and how we can attract them to our yards to help the bee population to recover. It is a Grange initiative and each Granger should do what they can to promote bee population restoration. Also, we need to promote this program outside of the Grange family and by copy of this email to many non-Grange members, I hope to stir up more local interest.
I want to thank both Gayle and Rick Bedigian for working on this. They are bee keepers and have a special love for the little critters. They also have a lot of honey! Hope we see that at the Grange Farmers market.
Plant a Honey Bee Friendly Garden
In the winter of 2006 the honey bee population began to die out. Even our native bumblebees are in trouble. Since then, as much as 70% of some bee populations have died as a result of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Seventy farm grown crops, about one-third of our natural food supply, rely on honey bees for pollination. If the honey bees disappear, so will the grapes and the strawberries, along with many of the other foods that have become not only favorites, but staples of our diet.
You can help restore the honey bee population with a bee friendly garden. It isn’t difficult to make your yard, garden or even patio space a haven for beneficial bees. You’ll be helping these important insects, as well as bringing more beauty and nature to your home.
Bees need a variety of plant pollens to stay healthy. Our food industries place thousands of hives on only one species of plants (blueberry fields for example) and doing so weakens the bees. The greater the plant diversity, the more bees you will attract and support. Always try to choose as many native plants as possible, and consult with nursery staff or other experts to find vegetation that will thrive in your specific conditions.
Honey Bee Friendly Plants
Attract and nourish honey bees with nectar producing plants. Wild flowers, including asters, goldenrod, sunflowers, even dandelions will provide food for the hives, and the native bee population as well.
Plant flowering vegetables and fruits.
Plant long blooming flowers or a variety of plants that will bloom at different times throughout the spring and fall. Honey bees need to eat until they retreat to their hives for the winter.
Try to group at least ten bee plants in a bunch or grouping.
Honey Bees Need Water:
Not only do the bees need nectar, they need water as well. Keep a supply of fresh water for the bees. They love fresh water but will often drown in water deeper than a very shallow puddle. Keep a bird bath with floating sponges in it. It is perfect for the bees–they love to light on the sponges to get a drink.
Native bees will make their homes in sand.
Provide a space in your garden for native bees to make their home. Native bees do not live in hives, but in single living units underground. Leave an un-mulched space in your garden for the bees to gain access and set up housekeeping. A pile of undisturbed sand will work as well.
No Pesticides or Herbicides.
Do not use pesticides and herbicides. Some of them are toxic to bees, and some aren’t. Many of them will leave a toxic residue for days or weeks. Avoid pesticides, especially the neonicotinoids which may be harmful to bees. Use organic chemicals that are bee friendly. It is better to introduce good bugs to provide natural protection against pests and to weed by hand.
If you would like to learn more about bees or raise them in this area please contact your local Bee Chapter. They will fall over helping you get started. They love their bees!!! www.klcbee.com
There are several places to buy bee equipment. Two places nearby are Spicer Bee http:spicertreeaolcom and another is Humble Abode.
Build a wild bee house. It is inexpensive and it will help attract native bees to your garden. Scroll down after opening this publication http://umaine.edu/publications/7153e/ to learn how to do it.
Here is a link on what we can do to help the Honey Bees: http://www.honeybeehaven.org/content/take-pledge
Following is a partial list of tried-and-true bee attractors:
Annuals: Asters, Calliopsis, Clover, Dandelions, Marigolds, Poppies, Sunflowers, Zinnias
Perennials: Buttercups, Clematis, Cosmos, Crocuses, Dahlias, Echinacea, English Ivy, Foxglove, Geraniums, Germander, Globe Thistle, Hollyhocks, Hyacinth, Rock Cress, Roses, Sedum, Snowdrops, Squills, Tansy, Yellow Hyssop
Garden Plants: Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Gourds, Peppers, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Squash, Strawberries, Watermelons, Wild, Garlic, Herbs, Bee Balm, Borage, Catnip, Coriander/Cilantro, Fennel, Lavender, Mints, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
Shrubs: Blueberry, Butterfly, Bush, Button, Bush, Honeysuckle, Indigo, Privet,
Trees: Alder, American Holly, Basswood, Black Gum, Black Locust, Buckeyes, Catalpa, Eastern Redbud, Fruit Trees (especially Crabapples), Golden Rain Tree, Hawthorns, Hazels, Linden, Magnolia, Maples, Mountain Ash, Sycamore, Tulip, Poplar, Willows
Here are some web sites with lists of bee friendly plants: