Saturday, April 12, 2014

Honey Bees

    I've been looking into getting a hive of honey bees, the main pollinators of our planet.  Getting honey and wax would be awesome and the bees would help the garden thrive!  So I began calling around and realized it is a bit out of my price range for this year.  Nonetheless I've been learning a great deal about them since.

   Bee populations appear to be in decline.  Without bees, the almond industry would not exist.   Many other staple crops rely on bees for pollination.  However there is a multitude of problems affecting these critters.  The main ones are mites, and viruses transmitted by those mites.  Most hives are unlikely to last more than a year without some type of miticide.  So what can we do to help?

   Based on what I have been learning about soil composition and companion planting.  By providing soil with more diversity and life in it, plants are able to grow much stronger.  They are more likely to have the ability to fight off a lot of the same issues affecting monocrops.  Companion planting is the idea of planting multiple crops together, usually to lessen the presence of harmful pests.  What does this have to do with bees?  If their environment during the off-season provides them with enough diversity of micro-nutrients, they would have an immune system better prepared for the travel and monocrop pollination during the active seasons.

   This sounds like an expensive process.  It really doesn't need to be though.  With proper composting and no-till methods a garden can be started without spending much beyond supplying water to the site.  Many plants can be started by seed.  If this bee-friendly environment can also supply a wide variety of foods and flowers, it can benefit the community in countless ways as well.

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