Bees And Your Garden – A Working Relationship
Alfrea Farming expert – Julie / 2017
Bees are one of the most recognized insects on the planet
Their fuzzy yellow and black bodies cause instant panic in most people. The distinct buzzing noise causes heart rates to rise, and spotting a beehive often results in profound silence as the spotter attempts to quickly and quietly put as much distance as possible between themselves and the bee home.
A lot of people dislike bees
Sure, they have stingers, which is a definite cause for concern. Multiplying that concern is the fact that bees tend to live in colonies, which means you often have more than one bee with a stinger to worry about. Bees and other pollinators are also bugs, which puts a significant number of humans off as well. But if you plan to garden, you should forgive bees their faults, because bees are instrumental in raising flourishing gardens. Wikipedia defines pollination as “a process in which pollen is transferred to the female reproductive organs of seed plants.” Pollination results in fertilization, which results in fruiting. Bees are made to be good at pollination. Bee fuzz is a pollen magnet, and bees are slightly electrostatic, which means bees are incredibly effective at carrying pollen from plant to plant.
Colony Collapse Disorder / CCD
So if you plan to grow any number of plants whose edible parts are the fruits, such as tomatoes, peppers, or squashes, your garden needs bees. Perhaps you’ve heard about a phenomenon known as “colony collapse disorder.” CCD is responsible for the rapid decline of bee populations across the planet since 2006. According to the documentary film “More Than Honey,” 80% of plant species are pollinated by bees. It has therefore become crucial, even for hobbyist gardeners, to encourage the regrowth of bee colonies, both for us and the bees. Given that pesticides and natural habitat loss are both believed to contribute to CCD, the rise and development of local, organic gardening will be essential to rebounding bee populations.
Make your garden a spot to attract and support bees
Wikihow has a fantastic, illustrated list of tips to attract bees to your garden. Native wildflowers, flowers of certain colors (like yellow, white, blue, and purple), and fruits and vegetables with fragrant blooms are all enticing to bees. Bees are also attracted to a variety of herbs and spices. Bees will help your garden grow by spreading pollen and fertilizing your plants’ seeds. If you really want to challenge yourself, you can even raise your own hive of bees. You will be rewarded with a lush and successful garden, a sustainable system of pollination, and fresh honey and beeswax. Bees are a little bit scary. But they are also a driving force for successful agriculture on planet Earth. Help the bees help you by planting and growing an organic, environmentally conscious garden. It’s good for bees, good for you, and good for the world we live in.
Additional Bee Conservancy information sources:
Cross reference Alfrea blog postings:
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