Thursday, April 2, 2015

Buzzing around

Honey Bees, Carpenter Bees, Bumble Bees, we've all seen them, some of us have been unlucky enough to come in contact with the sharp end, but what do you really know about them? Here's a fact for you, if you have been unlucky enough to step on a honey bee and got stung, that was a female bee also called  a worker, male bees or drones as they are called and they don't have stingers..There's an interesting factoid for your next office party.

We know that Honey Bees make honey and we are appreciative of that but do you also know that bees in general are responsible for a majority of our vegetable and fruit production? Without them we wouldn't have the pollination that the plants need to produce. It is thought that bees of all kinds pollinate about 75% and 80%  of all crops. With out them we would be in a huge amount of trouble.

So you want to help the bees? They are huge helpers in your garden and other gardens around you for that fact. Bees have been known to travel up to four or five miles for water and food for the hive.

One easy way to help is to plant bee friendly flowers in your yard and garden. Bees love Yarrow, Lavender, Lantana, Bee Balm and Sunflowers among other flowers plants. Plant a butterfly bush and butterflies won't be your only visitor, Bees as well as Hummingbirds will stop by.

Also be careful with the insecticides you use they harm beneficial insects as well as bad.

If you'd like to go one step further contact your local Beekeepers Association and learn about having your own hive. They often offer classes as well as ongoing education in the care and keeping of bees. We buy our hives and other supplies from a North Carolina Bee Farm.

These are pictures of our first hive install. Bees come in what is called a Nuc which comes with frames or a package which is shown below,

Package of New Bees and Queen 

Here's the queen, she is shipped with the bees . There is a small plug of sugar on the end of her "cage" and it has to be removed by the workers. This helps insure that she is accepted by the hive.

Installing the bees into their new hive. The queen in her box is placed on the bottom of the hive and them the remaining bees are encouraged to move into the hive with a little

They are a bit discombobulated but not aggressive. Beekeeping is not for everyone but it has great advantages for your garden, for bees and then there is the honey collection too! 
Install completed and ready to go! 

I could go on and on about bees and how great they are but I'll stop here and leave some ideas for another post in the future!

If you are looking for some other interest facts about bees check out this link. What ever your level of gardening always think about the bees and help however you can.

Be sure to check out other Blogs in the A to Z Challenge during April. Check back tomorrow for my installment of the letter "C"