BEES!

The bee is a symbol of industry, creativity, wealth, diligence and eloquence. Both the Egyptians and the French used bees as a symbol of regal power. Bees work incessantly among flowers, pollinating and gathering honey. In fact, many plants are completely dependent on bees to reproduce. 

Without pollination there would be no plants, and without plants, there would be no animal life—and no people, either. Bees help create beautiful and healthy gardens! 

Attracting bees requires a variety of plant species, planted in large groupings of similar flowers that bloom during the day. Many native bees prefer native plants, which is another good reason for using them. 

What about stings? Are bees dangerous? Unlike the more aggressive yellow jackets, bees will leave people alone unless frightened or provoked. 

That is why, for example, I don’t place certain plants by gates or pathways, but rather in “bee-friendly” sections of the garden.

20080809_schlum_0173-2-a.jpg

How to Help Bees

• Plant flowering plants with year-round pollen and nectar availability for bees. Some recommended plants: Alstroemeria, Wisteria, Lavender, Borage and other herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage.
• Reduce or eliminate the use of non-selective pesticides.  
• Keep your own hives and honey. This can increase fruit tree production by 50%!
• Bees are amazing and vital creatures. 

20100325_flwrs_0177.jpg

More About Bees..

  • A bee’s buzz is the sound of it’s wings flapping at 200 times a second.
  • Up to 40,000 bees live in one hive.
  • A honeybee flies about 15 miles per hour.
  • European colonists brought the honeybee to North America.
  • Bees must visit about two million flowers to produce one pound of honey.
  • Bees dance a ‘waggle dance’ to tell other bees the location of pollen and nectar.
  • In its lifetime, a bee makes less than a quarter teaspoonful of honey.
  • During its six week lifespan a bee will work constantly, first inside the hive and then foraging for the last half of its life, covering about 5 miles per day or 500 miles in a bee’s lifetime.
  • A bee visits thousands of flowers in one day but only visits a single kind of flower on any one trip away from the hive.
  • If a slug, mouse or other large intruder is found and killed inside a behive, the bees will hermetically seal it off with a wax coating to keep the hive clean.

The Queen

  • The queen bee’s job is to stay inside the hive and lay about 1000 fertilized eggs per day after just a few short mating flights, mating with as many as ten drone male bees, her only adventure outside of the hive.
  • The male bees, or drones, are useless inside the hive, can’t fly very well, don’t gather food, can’t sting or secrete wax. After mating once with the queen they soon die. They are all kicked out of the hive before winter comes.
  • The queen can lay eggs for years after mating and she determines the sex of each egg as she lays them.