Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Springtime B(ee)logging

My sweet little bees are out and about this lovely spring afternoon. They are so busy....almost urgent in their actions. And actually, things in the hive probably do require a bit of urgency. Winter is over, and the queen is actively moving from cell to cell, laying eggs. Eggs, of course, translate to more mouths to feed at home. With winter stores depleted, the girls have alot of responsiblities upon their wee little shoulders......gathering pollen, nectar, and water.....tending to the babies (larvae), and making honey just to name a few. They are happy to be free from the confines of their winter lair.

If you are a gardener, I've got to make my plea now: please please please refrain from using pesticides containing Imidacloprid. This is a "newer" pesticide that is highly suspect in contributing to (if not directly causing) Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bayer is just one of many companies that makes pesticides with this ingredient. Personally, I am an organic gardener, and have found that guineas do a better job than any pesticide, but everyone has their preferences. So, what is CCD? There has been a mysterious disappearance of entire colonies of bees over the last several years. This is a devastating event for any beekeeper. Beyond that, it is a devastating for anyone who eats.........for 3 out of every 5 bites of food you put in your mouth, you can thank a bee. Without bees, the world cannot produce enough food for all of the mouths that need to be fed. Colonies of bees affected by CCD simply disappear over a very short period of time. They appear to simply wander off and leave the hive, honey, larvae and all. The pesticide seems to have an Alzheimer's like effect on these highly functioning insects. Wow. To me, this is a "canary in the coalmine" sign for us. Really, if the pesticide does this to bees, what is it doing to humans longterm?

Not every flower attracts bees. Most people don't know that. The Divine Creation part of all of this is that the fruit and vegetable flowers that "need" bees for pollination in order to produce fruits and vegetables just so happen to be the ones that bees are attracted to. How cool is that??? So, what plants need bees for optimal production? Plants common to this area include: okra, beans, watermelon, cantaloupe and other melons, cucumbers, squash, zuchini, any fruit tree, grapes, any berry plant, and many herbs and spices. If you plant these things, your efforts will be appreciated by "the girls" and then justly rewarded at harvesttime. The caveat to this is that you've got to HAVE bees in your neighborhood for this to happen. The more pesticides that are used = fewer bees = less food (which means increased food prices). Please get the word out to all of your friends who are gardeners (both ornamental and fruit/vegetable).

Allow those little worker girl bees to bless your socks off, and have a great growing season~