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Gardening for Honeybees


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Feb 26, 2012, 9:44pm   #1
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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So...you may have noticed I am all about the bees right now.

I want to encourage everyone to plant some bee-friendly plants and flowers in their gardens

The world's bees are in a terrible state. Hive pests such as beetles and mites are stressing the bees in their hives and external factors like insecticides, unfriendly agricultural practices, and others have caused an alarming drop in the bee populations worldwide.

Bees travel up to 4 miles to find pollen to bring back to the hive. This pollen is essential for their survival, and the more we can help them the more hope we have for stronger hives. Stronger hives will help the bees recover from the Colony Collapse Disorder that has decimated the bee population worldwide.

Here is an example of a planting list for Northern California.
http://nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens/list.html

You can help by planting pollen producing plants in your garden.

I have planted lots of nasturtiums and lavender, and have started lots of Sunflowers, particularly Lemon Queen, which the bees love. If you shop for sunflowers, please take a minute to make sure you are not getting a pollenless hybrid.

I also let my coleus and basil go to flower, the bees love it....rosemary, single zinnias, dills, heirloom marigolds, cosmos have all been wonderful attractants to the bees. If you plant more basil than you need, you can let it go to flower and the bees will love you

You local agricultural extension service, or closest botanical garden is a great resource for information on bee friendly plants.

Your bee visitors will also appreciate some fresh water, like in a birdbath or shallow garden water feature

If you have a bee garden, please share!
Feb 27, 2012, 6:15pm   #2
limom's Avatar
Member
Hi,
I am also a bit of a bees advocate and I take care of a huge sunflowers bed every year.
My son plant the seeds in april and by august it is a bee/ sunflowers extravaganza.
Feb 29, 2012, 1:01pm   #3
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
Originally Posted by limom
Hi,
I am also a bit of a bees advocate and I take care of a huge sunflowers bed every year.
My son plant the seeds in april and by august it is a bee/ sunflowers extravaganza.
YAY!! Sunflowers are great for bees.
I would love to see pictures of the sunflowers. I planted two different kinds so far, and am getting ready to plant some more. The Hopi black dye sunflowers are already three inches high.

Do you know about the Backyard Bee Count? He may find that fun to participage in.
http://www.greatsunflower.org/


I am pretty sure I am going to take the plunge and get some beehives in the next month or so. I am taking classes...
Feb 29, 2012, 1:09pm   #4
Irishgal's Avatar
I run with scissors
I was thinking of you the other day when I was outside and realized that I was literally surrounded by bees in one of the large bushes that runs the length of the fence by the pool. I mean, so many that I was shocked. They were quite busy!
Feb 29, 2012, 1:17pm   #5
limom's Avatar
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Originally Posted by CobaltBlu
YAY!! Sunflowers are great for bees.
I would love to see pictures of the sunflowers. I planted two different kinds so far, and am getting ready to plant some more. The Hopi black dye sunflowers are already three inches high.

Do you know about the Backyard Bee Count? He may find that fun to participage in.
http://www.greatsunflower.org/


I am pretty sure I am going to take the plunge and get some beehives in the next month or so. I am taking classes...
I will post pictures in August. It is so great!
As far as beekeeping, best of luck. Are you planning on harvesting as well?
There is nothing better than chewing on fresh honey bees wax. Yum, yum.
Natural gum
Feb 29, 2012, 1:24pm   #6
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
Originally Posted by limom
I will post pictures in August. It is so great!
As far as beekeeping, best of luck. Are you planning on harvesting as well?
There is nothing better than chewing on fresh honey bees wax. Yum, yum.
Natural gum
My first objective is to get bees back in the area. They have disappeared from where I live, though i did see some on my neighbors basil, over a mile away. I used to see hundreds here. Now, essentially zero, or only one or two on a sunny day.

I will definitely harvest some honey, if I can leave the comb intact for the bees. I have to still decide which kind of hive to get, etc. We did a salvage with a beekeeper of a beehive in a house wall and he gave us the comb and so I have over 5 gallons of honey and 5 lbs of wax, so I am pretty set on hive products at the moment. I just want to help the bees, mostly.
Feb 29, 2012, 1:30pm   #7
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
Originally Posted by Irishgal
I was thinking of you the other day when I was outside and realized that I was literally surrounded by bees in one of the large bushes that runs the length of the fence by the pool. I mean, so many that I was shocked. They were quite busy!

That is great!!! And awww....you thought of li'l ole me??
What kind of trees are they?
Last night i learned that once bees figure out their nearest water source (maybe your pool ) they collectively imprint it, and you cant get them to use another one. Your yard looks very pleasant for the bees, and I bet they drink out of your pool, too.

I wonder if there is a beekeeper nearby who is
Feb 29, 2012, 1:38pm   #8
limom's Avatar
Member
^^
After the mass hysteria regarding the Killer bees aka Africanized bees, many people went on the DL.

It is great that you are pursuing this noble occupation. I have a chance to be close to beekeeping in the summer and it is a fascinating world.

Bees are essential for the food chain supplies and as an avid gardener, I am always happy to see them.
Feb 29, 2012, 7:33pm   #9
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
It is really fascinating!

Many of the remaining honeybees on the US mainland are commercially raised, and transported across the country (stressful for them) to pollinate the almond crop in CA --over a million hives---after the almond job is done, they are trucked other places to do apples, blueberries, etc. in other parts of the country.

Only a small portion are raised by local beekeepers and kept local. Its quite a situation...
Feb 29, 2012, 8:39pm   #10
LemonDrop's Avatar
Get to the chopper
I am absolutley THRILLED to find this thread. I just moved to northern California. I have had an interest in honey bees for a few years and moving to this area has peeked my interest. I have also become a big fan of local honey for allergies.

We had to move into an apartment but we have a nice upstairs balcony and I bet I can make a bee garden on it. There is a ton of lavander around our building and I have been admiring all the bees.

I am so so excited. I am going to take some before pics of my blah balcony and then start designing my garden.
Feb 29, 2012, 9:26pm   #11
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
Originally Posted by LemonDrop
I am absolutley THRILLED to find this thread. I just moved to northern California. I have had an interest in honey bees for a few years and moving to this area has peeked my interest. I have also become a big fan of local honey for allergies.

We had to move into an apartment but we have a nice upstairs balcony and I bet I can make a bee garden on it. There is a ton of lavander around our building and I have been admiring all the bees.

I am so so excited. I am going to take some before pics of my blah balcony and then start designing my garden.

How exciting!!

I was so thrilled to learn that San Francisco has an active and thriving urban beekeeping community. I am not sure where you are but its great news that there are bees around the lavender in your area. Northern California seems very bee-friendly.

Be sure to always buy local honey from your farmers markets (advice for everyone, I see you already do! )
Support your local beekeepers


Cant wait to see pictures of your garden! There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for balcony gardening, too
Feb 29, 2012, 10:09pm   #12
Irishgal's Avatar
I run with scissors
Originally Posted by CobaltBlu
That is great!!! And awww....you thought of li'l ole me??
What kind of trees are they?
Last night i learned that once bees figure out their nearest water source (maybe your pool ) they collectively imprint it, and you cant get them to use another one. Your yard looks very pleasant for the bees, and I bet they drink out of your pool, too.

I wonder if there is a beekeeper nearby who is
If I have tons of bees does this mean there is a local beekeeper?
The place where they hang is by the pool! It is really a long hedge and there are more bees than you can shake a stick at. If I sit next to them I can hear their faint buzz.
Feb 29, 2012, 10:16pm   #13
Echoes's Avatar
..
I'm out in the boonies with loads of honeysuckle, forsythia and other flowering vines and trees. I also have wysteria and quite a few Rose of Sharon bushes, plus some of my privet hedges bloom. And then there's the clover in the grass, black-eyed susans, shasta daisies and other wildflowers.
Feb 29, 2012, 11:47pm   #14
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
Originally Posted by Irishgal
If I have tons of bees does this mean there is a local beekeeper?
The place where they hang is by the pool! It is really a long hedge and there are more bees than you can shake a stick at. If I sit next to them I can hear their faint buzz.
Its possible you have a beekeeper nearby. Wild colonies are not doing so well, but its also possible that it is a wild one. I am not sure if you are allowed beekeeping in your area, but there is a chance even if it isnt allowed that there is a beekeeper in a two or three mile radius. You can always follow them home, hehehe
Mar 1, 2012, 11:36am   #15
HauteMama's Avatar
Member
I was gardening for bees before I knew I was gardening for bees! We plant marigolds because they are easy to grow for the kids; we have a redbud tree and numerous apple trees as well as sunflowers planted as accents around a silo. Although we live in a fairly rural area, we have LOTS of bees of all sorts - mostly honeybees, but also bumble bees and paper wasps. I wonder now if they are wild or if there are beekeepers nearby; in this area I'd imagine one is as likely as the other.

And I had no idea about trucking bees all over the country to pollinate until I heard a program on NPR a few years ago. I guess I was naive, but I had always assumed that bees were just natural and not, essentially, farmed. That people make a living trucking their bees around the country as pollinators was mind-boggling. It also seems very dangerous in that if/when those kept colonies have issues (like now with the colony collapse), if we don't have wild bees we have a very dangerous situation for humans and for every other living thing. In that regard, I think amateur beekeepers are essential.

How complicated is it to have beehives? What sort of maintenance and upkeep do they require?
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