I started keeping honey bees at our garden a few years ago. Bee pollination is necessary for crops such as squash, cucumbers, melons and a multitude of other vegetables and fruits. If you have ever had trouble with poor pollination, you may want to start keeping bees at your garden. Here are a few tips to make sure you are “Bee Friendly:”
- Plant cut flowers with your spring/summer garden. Cut flowers such as sunflowers and zinnias are easy to grow from seed. Plant them in rows in your spring/summer garden and they will attract pollinators for your crops and provide beauty to your garden all growing season long.
- Use organic pesticides. If you use pesticides in your garden, make sure it is organically sourced. Pesticides containing neonicotinoids and other harmful chemicals can have detrimental effects on bee behavior and fertility. One known harmful effect of non-organic pesticides on bees is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which results in the death of adult bees and eventual demise of the colony.
- Have a clean water source nearby. Bees use water for cooling the hive through evaporation and for thinning honey to feed to larva. We use a bucket with clean water with a little pine straw in it. The pine straw provides the bees a solid footing during water consumption.
- Plant a flowering cover crop. Crimson clover is a short-lived perennial that can be planted in late summer or early spring. It works great for attracting bees and fixing nitrogen in the soil, improving soil fertility.