Keeping a bee friendly garden
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.