The bees can travel up to 5 km to forage the flowers in order to collect a little sweet nectar which will become good honey. During these long flights, the bees are subject to several dangers. Whether it is predation by birds, mammals or other insects, bees always fly while paying close attention to their environment. If that was the only risk they faced, they would be fine. But it is far from being the case. The environment in which we live has greatly endangered the survival of bees. The average annual loss of bee colonies in Quebec was around 50% in 2022. So what can be done to help the bees?
Needless to say, bee food comes from flowers, but not all types of flowers are attractive to bees. Some flowers are more attractive to them than others because of their smell and color. So what flowers can we plant to help them find the nectar and pollen they love so much?
Did you know that with a home vegetable garden, you offer a beautiful bouquet of flowers that bees and other pollinating insects are interested in? In fact, nearly 80% of what we eat must first have been pollinated by pollinating insects. Here are some vegetables and herbs that bees love.
And more !
Bees also love the flowers of small fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, blackcurrants, camerise, etc. Unfortunately, they do not go in sea buckthorn, because the latter has no nectar or stamens to dispose of its pollen. Sea buckthorn is pollinated by the wind.
Another way to help bees is to sow honey flowers in a flower bed. By opting for a mixture of honey flowers, your flower bed will remain in bloom from June to October and will attract pollinating insects from spring to fall. This will allow them to have a place to find flowers throughout their busy seasons.
What we call weeds are actually an excellent source of nectar for bees. For example, towards the end of July, there is a small dip in flowering and the bees have more difficulty finding their food. This short period ends with the arrival of the goldenrod which flowers from August to September. It is the first plant to appear at this time of year and will flower until mid-September in some cases. Unfortunately, it is considered a weed and is often cut or pulled up. Let it grow, it will make a nice addition to your flower bed and requires no maintenance. Goldenrod and dandelion are two examples of unloved but very important flowers for bees.
Weeds allow bees and other pollinating insects to find an abundant source of food throughout the season and thus allows them to have a healthy and varied diet.
To help the bees, let them grow.
All living things need water. The bees will look for a place where there is a safe way to land in order to drink. They will easily land on rocks, branches, grass or lichen, for example. You can easily make a small water point in a tank. For water, be sure to use a non-chlorinated water and salty. To make salt water, add 1 tbsp. at t. of salt per liter of water and stir. They need salt just like us and they will look for a salt water point if available.
The bees use the water to hydrate themselves, to feed the larvae, to prepare royal jelly and for the air conditioning of the hive in summer. In order to cool the hive in summer, the bees put small drops of water on the cells. During this time, bees ventilate the hive. The current of air evaporates the drops of water, which cools the hive.
In addition, providing easy access to a water point for bees ensures that they do not go into a water point that could be contaminated with pollutants or pesticides. It's a simple way to help bees.
No pesticides should be used preventively. You know, pesticides are used in many sectors and not just in agriculture? Every time you use a product to kill wasps, ants or spiders, you are using pesticides. These pesticides kill the insects that were bothering you, but leave small residues in the air, on the ground and on the plant that could prove dangerous (and sometimes fatal!) for the bees. Do you want to use pesticides? Wait until evening when it gets dark before using pesticides. Since bees do not fly at night, they will have less chance of coming into contact with the product used.
By buying organic vegetables at the our farm store, you ensure that no pesticides have been used in our fields. By buying Quebec organic food, you are helping to provide a healthy environment for bees and other pollinating insects where they can feed and drink.
A good way to encourage organic farming is to subscribe to an organic vegetable basket. If you are not sure if a vegetable basket subscription is right for you, it is always possible to come and choose your vegetables directly from the farm. Buying organic vegetables is a good way to invest in a healthy, pesticide-free environment.
In another article we have already given you several reasons to buy local honey. One reason that hasn't been mentioned is that by buying local honey, you ensure there are bees in your area! And yes, in order to offer you this good honey that you love so much, we must have previously worked with ladies bees. Our job is to ensure that bee colonies stay healthy and have enough food for their well-being. When we harvest honey from our hives, we make sure they have enough for their immediate need.
Sponsoring a hive is a simple way to help bees. By paying the costs related to the management of a hive (or part of it), for a year, you allow the beekeeper to manage more hives and therefore help the bees by ensuring the sustainability of the species. As a token of recognition for your help, certain advantages are also available to you.
Many of these 7 concrete actions to help bees are easily applicable. Tell yourself that, to help the bees, every little gesture counts! This year, plant honey flowers, let the dandelions bloom and establish a watering hole for the bees. If you feel like it, buy local honey and subscribe to a vegetable basket or sponsor a beehive. Above all, please limit your use of pesticides.
On August 19, 2023 we are off the farm for a wedding. There will therefore be no no farm tours on August 19.
Sea buckthorn self-picking remains possible and the shop will be open according to the usual schedule.
Thank you for understanding.
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