Weather Garden Tip: Helping our bees

The bees are ready to get to work for the season / Mark Torregrossa

Bees may be your enemy when they build a nest on your house. But bees are a garden TMs best friend. We need bees! They are the only way to have natural pollination. The bees are in search of nectar. So they climb on your flowers, and pick up the nectar. Then they fly back to the hive to make honey with the nectar. The honey is what the bees eat through the winter. The pollination comes in when they land onto flowers of vegetable plants and fruit trees. When the bees fly from flower to flower they take the pollen from each flower and drop it on the next flower. This pollinates the vegetable or fruit and makes it grow. Without this process we probably all starve in a big hurry.

So what should you do to be friendly to bees. Well the main thing is to try to avoid using pesticides unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to use pesticides, the timing is critical. For example, definitely do not spray your fruit trees when they are in blossom. The bees are sure to visit the blossoms and get chemicals on their feet. When they fly back to the hive they will bring the chemical into the hive and kill all the bees. Many of you use Sevin to kill anything in your garden. It TMs just not necessary to kill everything, nor is it good to do. Some of those bugs help pollinate like bees, and some bugs keep the real pests in check. Switching to organic pesticides will help save the bees. If you are having troubles with cabbage worms you can use bacillus thurigiensis. This is an organic insecticide that is made from a bacteria. Rotenone is also safe for bees according to Vern Arndt, a beekeeper from Bay City. It is made from flower extracts and doesn TMt harm bees. Rotenone is sometimes sold in a mixture of insecticides, one of them being pyrethrums. This mixture is toxic to bees. The best advice I can give you is read the label, and try to not use pesticides.