I have been really enjoying watching all the varieties of bees and butterflies in our garden this year. When our catnip was blooming, I swear the entire hive that lives in one of our trees was collecting nectar from it. I feel a pure delight just from knowing that we are creating a happy home for them on our farm. And we know that we have all of the pollinators we need to keep our crops producing.
As I plant my fall garden, I am going to continue to keep the bees in mind. There are many plants that I love that also feed the bees. Some bee friendly plants are dill, maple, yarrow, cosmos, Echinacea, sunflower, comfrey, elderberry, black-eyed Susan, squash, and basil. And it is important to make sure that in every season the garden offers something for our helpful insect friends. Especially, the bumblebees need continuous blooms throughout the warm seasons since they don’t store honey like the honeybees. We are talking about doing a late planting of summer squash and dill for us and the bees.
Our farm is also an organic farm, which means that we don’t use any of the pesticides that may bee threatening bee populations. It is estimated that one third of the honeybee population has been wiped out since 2006 due to colony collapse disorder. No one is sure what exactly is causing the colony collapse, but many scientists now believe that some pesticides are a significant factor. So by not using insecticides in your yard and garden and buying organic foods, you can reduce that amount of pesticides that both you and the bees are exposed to.
To learn about more things you can do to support bees, check out bumblebee.org.
3 thoughts on “Working in the Garden to Save the Bees”
I saw a TV show about bees recently, and it speculated that their decline may be due to the increase in agricultural areas which cut down on available space for bee-friendly flowers to grow. When flower “islands” were grown within farmlands the bee population increased. It sounds like you have found a similar happy medium with your bee-friendly gardening.
I love that idea of flower islands. I hadn’t mentioned it in my blog, but some people are also blaming GMO crops (specifically the Roundup ready ones) because they are eliminating the weeds that feed the bees and butterflies.