“Honey bees are like little dust mops,” says Kevin Ormerod, a Certified Beekeeper in Columbia, S.C. “Their fuzzy, statically charged little bodies pick up all kinds of small particles while they're foraging. Their typical range is 1-2 miles and their maximum radius is 8 miles.”
There are several kinds of bees and bee look-a-likes in the garden. Yellow Jackets give honeybees a bad name. They're yellow with black striping, like a honeybee, but they're smooth, not fuzzy. Yellow Jackets sting.
Honeybees are usually pretty docile creatures. They go about their business of collecting nectar and pollen and pay little attention to us working in the garden. Like gardeners, they're especially happy on warm, sunny days when there are lots of flowers blooming.
Workers, which are all females, have specialized jobs. One group collects pollen, one collects nectar and one collects water. When there's a brood to be fed in the hive, then pollen is collected.
One set of workers does nothing but remove all foreign bodies from the hive: waste, dead bees, etc. If they can't remove it, they encase it in "propolis", bee glue that they make by adding their own enzymes to sap they collect.
Bees have one thing in common with cows. They have more than one stomach. They have a pre-stomach, called a honey stomach, which accounts for 1/3 of their weight when fully loaded. The nectar is passed from one bee to another and then maybe another before being put in a cell in the hive. Each bee adds its own enzymes to the mix.
In Years past, a couple of mites, the Tracheal Mite and the Varroa Mite, have nearly devastated the populations of bees. Now there is a new problem that is even more vicious, striking honeybee colonies across the country. Scientists are working overtime to find not only a cure but a cause. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD for short. In Colony Collapse Disorder, worker bees just disappear from a hive.
You can help the bee population by planting nectar-producing flowers and trees. Asters, red, yellow and white clover, red bud tree, crab apple, veronica, anise hyssop, pincushion flower (Scabiosa), yellow coreopsis, and lavender all are rich in nectar.
Pass the word to always read the label of any pesticide used in the garden. Use one with a low residual effect. Insecticides that do the least harm last only a couple of hours in the garden. Apply in the late afternoon or evening when the bees have quit foraging. They'll start again about 9-10 a.m. In early spring, when they're collecting nectar like crazy, they start much earlier.
Carbaryl, or Sevin, once thought to be one of the safest of insecticides is also one of the most toxic to bees. It will keep killing anywhere from 2 hours to 12 days, depending on the weather conditions. Its granules are also the same size as pollen and have been mistakenly gathered by bees. If it's taken back to the hive it can kill the whole colony.
What is the safest of all practices? Don't use any insecticides. It is up to all gardeners to be responsible in their use of pesticides. Our food crops depend on these little fuzzy bee-mops.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners ColorChoice,
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
There are few things more satisfying than seeing your beautiful garden in full bloom...and it's especially thrilling to see it abuzz with the activity of butterflies and bees. Want to bring more activity to your garden? Here's a guide to choosing unique, colorful, easy-care plants that provide a much-needed place for pollinators of all sizes to do their work.
Jump into Spring with savings up to $2200 on this Exclusive Cruise of the Rivers of Holland & Belgium with Eric Johnson Host of GardenSMART from PBS
Sail right into the pages of a storybook on our European garden tour through Holland and Belgium.
MAY 6-16, 2018
As low as $3799 per person/do, Price includes airfare from New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago. CALL FOR OTHER CITIES THROUGHOUT THE USA
Watch filming and be part of the fun, telling your favorite...and not so favorite Dirty Tales.
2 Nights Amsterdam & 7 Nights River. Visit Amsterdam, Holland, Belgium, Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruges, Keukenhof Gardens, Rotterdam and More!
This Exclusive, Five-Star, Cruise & Garden Tours Vacation Includes:
2 nights in Amsterdam including gorgeous hotel, wonderful tours and daily breakfast
7 nights on the new, flagship Amadeus Silver III river cruise ship
Incredible excursions in Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Utrecht
All of your meals on board the ship, including wine with dinner