Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > May 2013 > GARDEN TALK with DOUG - Where are the Bees?

GARDEN TALK with DOUG - Where are the Bees?

If you are like many of us with a vegetable garden, you may be asking what has happened to the bees.  For the past few years, I have had poor production with my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other vegetables.  I thought that my lack of production with my vegetable plants was due to improper soil conditions, lack of sufficient sunlight, lack of fertilizer, or worse – that I was a poor gardener.  Then I realized that my poor garden performance had nothing to do with me, but it had a lot to do with the lack of honey bees doing their magic to my plants – pollination!

 

            Honey bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by humans

 

            Virginia honey bee population continues to die off.  The number of managed hives has declined by over 50% and the number of wild colonies by almost 100%.  I find these facts scary.  This decline has been due primarily to parasitic mites that attack honey bees.  The improper use and over use of insecticides and pesticides is a secondary contributor to this decline.

 

            A colony of bees consist of 20,000 to 60,000 worker bees and one queen

 

            In the U.S., bees pollinate almost $15 billion in crops every year, according to the Federal Government.  1/3 of our diet is made up of food that requires pollination by honey bees such as apples, tomatoes, vegetables, and other fruits.

 

            One honey bee ill visit 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip

 

            What can we do to help save our honey bees?

  1. Don’t apply any insecticides to plants that are in bloom.
  2. Apply insecticides in the evening when bees are not around.
  3. Plant more flowers – especially plants that bloom from spring to fall.  Flowers are a great source of pollen and nectar for busy bees.
  4. Become a bee hive manager on your property.
  5. Encourage the education of honey bees to the younger generation.

 

Let us all become better stewards of our own environment and do whatever we can to protect and encourage honey bees.

 

“Honey bees – I need you to visit my vegetable plants!”

 

                         

            

Posted: 5/7/2013 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: DougHensel, GardenTalkWithDoug
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