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Bring Honey Bees Home!

The honey bee is the main pollinator of hundreds of food crops including nuts, vegetables, and fruits.

 Mary Gabbard, Solano County Master Gardener, wrote a great article in the Summer 2008 issue of Seeds for Thought, titled “Tips for a Bee-friendly Garden.” She was inspired to write this article because of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is a mysterious phenomenon where adult bees are abandoning their hives, never to return. It has been estimated that one third of the honey bee colonies in the United States have disappeared.  Click here to read more about Colony Collapse Disorder from the UCD Department of Entomology.

Encourage our bees back to California with some of Mary’s tips:

DONT USE PESTICIDES

Chemicals for lawn and garden use might be contributing to CCD; therefore try using integrated pest management (Click here for the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website), or natural or organic fertilizers. If you do want to continue using pesticides, try spraying at night when bees are less active.

DIVERSIFY YOUR GARDEN

Use a variety of flowering plants with different colors, shapes and flowering times, which will help to attract many different varieties of bees. Planting flowers that will blossom at different times of the year is a clever technique to keep your garden bee happy over an extended period of time. Research shows gardens with ten or more bee-friendly plants support the most visitors and that bees are most attracted to blue, purple, yellow and white colored flowers, which makes pansies a great pick!

GO NATIVE

Use local or native plants as they are four times as likely to attract native bees back to your garden than exotic plants.

A native California Mining Bee

GO BARE

60-70 percent of California bees tunnel and live in the soil so leave some bare soil in your garden for bees and other useful organisms.

An easy way to make a wood nest

BE A HIVE BUILDER

Building a wood nest will help encourage wood-nesting bees to visit your home gardens. To build a nest, drill holes about 5 inches deep in a non-pressure treated block of wood and hang it in a shady spot in your garden.

**Spencer Michels with PBS wrote a great article, in July of this year, on the progress California scientists have made since Colony Collapse Disorder was discovered almost five years ago. One of our very own UC Davis Entomologists, Eric Mussen, was interviewed for his insight into how “splitting” bee hives can helps us get ahead of CCD! Click here to find out more.

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2 Responses to “Bring Honey Bees Home!”

  1. As more people come across info like this, it will only serve to better humanity. Thanks!

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