Keep­ing a bee friendly gar­den

The Tribune (NZ) - - SQUARE CIRCULAR -

With­out bees, much of what we put on our plates would not ex­ist. It is easy to take the wide se­lec­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles avail­able for granted. How­ever, large scale grow­ers like mar­ket gar­den­ers and or­chards would not be the only ones to suf­fer from the demise of bees. Fruit and veg­eta­bles in home gar­dens would also suf­fer from lack of pol­li­na­tion.

Honey bees make an at­trac­tive ad­di­tion to the gar­den and there are lots of things we as home gar­den­ers can do to at­tract and pro­tect them. Plant lots of pollen rich plants such as old-fash­ioned or­na­men­tals, many of the mod­ern or­na­men­tals do not pro­duce large amounts of pollen.

Al­though home gar­dens are of­ten nec­tar rich, you can al­ways help out by lightly spray­ing fruit trees with a sugar and wa­ter so­lu­tion when blos­soms are open­ing, at­tract­ing bees to the trees and to the blos­soms.

Bees tend to love the clover, but­ter­cups and dan­de­lion flow­ers that sprout from your lawn. Mow your lawns a lit­tle less fre­quently. Pro­vide a wa­ter source in your gar­den, not only will the lo­cal bird pop­u­la­tion en­joy it, but the bees use wa­ter to cool their hives, es­pe­cially dur­ing the warm months.

Go spray free in your gar­den. Even some of the or­ganic sprays are toxic to bees. If you are in doubt about what you are spray­ing with, spray in the evening when bees have gone back to their hives. If you are se­ri­ous about grow­ing your own fruit and veg­eta­bles you might want to con­sider making a site for a bee­hive. Con­tact the Manawatū Bee­keep­ers Club for more in­for­ma­tion.

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