I never really gave much thought to bees other than to hope than they stayed away from me ’cause I didn’t want to get stung. I was completely unaware of how important bees are to our world. Since I moved to our little farm and we totally changed our lifestyle I’m now far more aware of the impacts of our flying friends. Without bees and other pollinators our gardens would not produce all of the delicious fruits and vegetables they do.
There has been much concern lately that the bees are dying off. A lot of the collapse of the bee colonies can be attributed to neonic pesticides. Many of these chemicals have been banned in Europe and other countries but they are still in use here in the US. These pesticides are long lasting so they move through the plant and are then found in the pollen. Many flowers are sold with the neonic pesticides already on/in them but due to the outcry about the bees some rather large companies are making changes. Home Depot is now labeling it’s plants so the consumer knows that it is buying a contaminated (my word) plant. It is working to “find alternative insecticides for protecting live goods and bees.” Lowes made a public commitment to eliminate these pesticides from its stores and products. These are a great start but as a country we have a long way to go.
Did you know that bees and other pollinators are essential for two thirds of our food crops? It’s true – without these winged wonders we wouldn’t have almonds, cucumbers, apples, peaches, blueberries and many more. Here on the farm we rely on pollinators to make sure our gardens produce. After all this is the food we eat all winter long. We are hoping to put bee hives in but there are other projects that are ahead of them on the never ending farm improvement list. So for now we are trying to welcome bees into our environment.
I was thrilled to be sent a Mason Bee House (affiliate link) from Friends of the Earth so that we could set up a Bee happy spot on the farm. I was hoping it could be set up by the garden so the bees would be close for visiting all of the plants there but the instructions told the hubby to place in a somewhat shaded place, out of the wind so the side of the yurt was a better option.
Bees also need a source of water so a little rock pond is suggested. Nothing fancy, just something where they can get a drink. The rocks are so they can rest and drink. The bee house comes all put together and it’s simple to install:
You just need a hook or a nail or something to hang it from. I don’t think it took him 5 minutes. It’s pretty, isn’t it? I like seeing it hanging there. The goats have taste tested the bee water. I suspect the cats have too.
It needs to be a little bit away from the bee house. I’m keeping an eye on the water pond to make sure the farm animals don’t drink all of the bee water. I didn’t receive the bee house until the end of July so it hasn’t attracted any bees yet. I hope that soon it will look like this:
I know – but it’s the best I could do right now. It’s also been hotter than all heck lately and perhaps that is causing them to lie low. We do know from research for putting in bee hives that we are in a good place for bees because of our proximity to the river. So I am sure I’ll find bees in the Mason Bee House at some point in time.
So, what can you do to help the bees?
- If you are planting a garden, do so organically. That’s how we grow all of our fruits and vegetables and it works. If the hubby has a problem with a pest he just does some research and he finds a natural solution.
- If you are buying plants at a store or a nursery look for plants that are not treated with neonic pesticides.
- Put a Mason Bee House up in your yard to attract bees and give them a safe place to thrive.
- Educate yourself about bees and their situation. Watch this video and then click through to the site to learn more:
If you cannot see the movie you can watch it on YouTube HERE
Whether you live in an urban environment or a rural one you need bees because no matter what you have to eat and without them (and other pollinators) some of the tastiest fruits and vegetables simply wouldn’t produce. I don’t know about you but I’d miss peaches and apples.
Are you ready to help the bees? What will you do to help them?