The following is a guest post from Kate Ferry who writes the blog, The Sacred Bee's Blog. Since early 2010, she and her family began focusing on eating organic, supporting local businesses, removing toxic chemicals from their home and bodies and reducing their waste. She has been chronicling her adventures on her blog. This post is Part 2 of 2 and is geared to those who may not want to keep bees but want to help them out. You can read Part 1 here.
Helping without keeping
The past five years have seen an enormous decline in honeybee colonies. The honeybee population is vanishing at an apocalyptic rate and keepers are opening the hives in spring to find them empty. The fate of the honeybee is particularly worrisome when considering that over one-third of the food on our table is the direct result of honeybee pollination.
So, even if you aren’t interested or can’t keep honeybees, you would doing a world of good to educate yourself on how to help keep them relatively safe and enjoy the benefits of their industrious work ethic.
Keep that garden natural – a bonus for the honeybee, your home, your health and your environment! Avoid pesticides at all costs and work with natural, environmentally friendly products. Or, embrace the weeds.
Try to have a variety of flowers and plants in your yard that are in bloom all year round. Think early spring to harvest time – work with the dandelions in April and finish with some sedum in late fall.
Get those wasps. Wasps are carnivores that feed on honeybees. A hive can be severely incapacitated by a wasp attack and the only evidence for the keeper is the body remnants after wasps have dissected the abdomens of the bees. Wasp queens are all that live over winter and are responsible for starting the entire hive on their own come spring.
So, each wasp you kill in late winter or early spring (you know those sneaky slow movers that come out of the wood pile?) is one wasp hive down. An affordable and effective organic bait for wasps is half orange juice/half water in any sort of trap. If you use a sugar bait – you are going to be killing honeybees, too (a big no-no).
Host a hive. Contact your local beekeeping association and let them know you are interested in hosting a hive. You provide the land and an experienced beekeeper provides and cares for the bees and gives you a portion of the honey harvest for your support and participation. Can you say win-win?!
Keeping bees is a wonderful hobby, but is understandably not for everyone. Even if honeybees are not an integral part of your life, they can find nectar and pollen from organic sources in your yard.