Treehugger recently posted this video on beekeeping. After sitting though some excellent but long and technical NOFA workshops on pollinators, I really appreciated finding this brief, straightforward intro to share with clients and colleagues. Sonoma County beekeeper Serge Labesque discusses the composition of a hive, threats to modern bees, and the benefits of beekeeping.
In addition to providing delicious honey, bees are among the most efficient and flexible pollinators for our food crops. Want to help bees on your own property? Here are some suggestions:
- Bloom on. Bees need nectar sources all year, so plan to have something in bloom from March-October. While the bloom times are off for Massachusetts, this chart from UGA will get you started.
- Keep it simple. Your flowers, that is. The newest cultivars look sexy to humans, but new colors, double flowers, and sterile varieties may foil bees in their search for food.
- Not too tidy. Stumps, hollow logs, brush piles, and high grasses provide cover for bees and other pollinators, so leave some areas of the yard natural.
- Just a sip. Insects need water, too — preferably splashed onto stones or plants. Yet another reason to consider a water feature, bird bath, or stone basin in the garden.
- Go organic. Pesticides are accepted to be one contributor to colony collapse disorder. Choose organic produce, lawn care, and garden products.
- Embrace your clover. It’s a bee food source from spring until frost. Plus, it’s green even when the grass is brown, and it adds nitrogen to the soil.