Healthy bee populations are vital to keeping your fruit trees and gardens happy. Though some plants are wind pollinated (or even fly pollinated like pawpaws), many rely on hard-working bees to set fruit.
When the bee populations drop, so does the productivity of those plants.
The little honeybee in the photo above is sipping water from one of my hot tub ponds she can bring home to her sisters.
Even if you don’t have a beehive on your homestead, you can very easily attract wild populations by leaving patches of wildflowers (often known to the uninitiated as “weeds”) or planting pollinator-attracting plants on purpose.
Keeping water sources on your homestead will also help keep the populations high and circulating around your property. The pond plants on the surface of my ponds provide perfect places for bees to stand and sip without fear of drowning.
You can do something similar by putting out a birdbath filled with gravel and water – that gives the insects a place to safely perch without falling in.
Another thing to remember: all the bees on your property don’t need to be honeybees. There are a wide variety of excellent pollinating bees that will come to your homestead for the blooms… and stay for your warm hospitality.
Bumblebees, for example:
She’s sipping from some of my blueberry blooms.
One of the best ways to keep the bees around your property is to avoid using pesticides.
When you have an aphid problem or an infestation of stinkbugs, you must resist the urge to bust out the Malathion – you WILL kill bees and other good guys. I hate the thought of these inoffensive little creatures coming to my garden for nectar and being poisoned in the process. It just strikes me as an ugly and ungodly thing.
New Bee Book Coming Soon
In related news, Allen the Beekeeper and I are writing a book on beekeeping in the South which will hopefully be finished this week. He has a massive amount of beekeeping knowledge… and I’ve got the writing skill to get that knowledge down into a book. Together we’re creating a really good resource and I’m stoked that he decided to work with me on it. I could never have written anything this in-depth on bees without Allen.
Our climate is uniquely difficult for raising healthy bees; however, with some tweaking it can be done successfully. It’s a hard road these days but not impossible.