In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Vivid.”
The vivid hues of this thistle let’s the honeybee know the kettle’s on.
When I was a boy growing up on a farm in the Ohio River Valley, going barefoot was the norm in the summertime. And so were bee stings. Not that I blame the bees.
If a dirty little foot landed on my back while I was slurping up some nectar, it might rub me the wrong way, too.
So I had a healthy respect for bees. At least the pointy end.
I enjoyed their honey, too.
And little did I know that those buzzy little busybodies were also responsible for quite a bit of work on our farm. Wind pollination only gets you so far.
Unfortunately, honeybees are in serious decline and that could prove disastrous for those of us who enjoy honey, gardening, and, oh yeah, eating food.
In an area of China, famous for its pears, the pear trees must be pollinated by hand, using paint brushes, because there’s no longer enough bees to get the job done. Find some stunning photos of that beautiful place here.
Oh, and here’s a good article on the Plight of the Honeybee.
So at the Squirrels’ Nest, we plant things that honeybees enjoy, like coneflowers and bee balm, and we don’t use pesticides (especially neonictinoids…that just sounds nasty.) We do what we can to keep honeybees alive and happy in our little corner of the ecosphere.
And I’m trying to convince Ms. Professor that a beehive or two might not be a bad idea.
What’s the bee situation in your neck of the woods? Do you do anything special to encourage bee populations where you live?
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A topic near and dear to my heart. We do not use pesticides of any kind and plant all kinds of flowers in with our veggies to attract our native pollinators. So far, we are doing okay here on our little patch of land, but we can’t grow all our own food so we still face the major problems you describe above. I wish everyone realized that hand pollinating is a bad situation.
Indeed! Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a little apiary in their backyard 😉
Great bee photo. I never use neonictinoids either. This means I have to pick the lily beetles off by hand and squash them but it can’ t be helped. We do have plenty of bees here including lots of bumbles.
Thanks! Glad to hear your bee population is buzzing! 😉 Cheers, Ben
Bees are in trouble here too Ben, but finally there is some small acceptance of the destructive neonics.
Keep fighting the good fight! 🙂
It’s terrible to see what has happened to one of our most critical resources. The idea of having to hand pollinate plants for food to me was part of the future if we hadn’t fixed the pesticide over-use..it’s shocking, and it’s already reality…
Indeed! We’re encouraging the bees wherever we find them and trying to do the right thing by avoiding harmful pesticide. Hopefully, if enough people start to care, the populations will return.
Wonderful post and gorgeous ‘vivid’ thistle. The kettle is on! Thankfully there are lots of bees at our place – wool carders, bumbles and honey bees, it sure helps being organic. Don’t get me started on pesticides …
Thanks, Julie! Happy to hear the bees are alive and buzzing at your place 😉
I agree… no pesticides are used at all in my garden and I nag my neighbours about it too. Some years we have loads of bees and other years fewer. This spring was very good for them, and now the lavender is opening so they should be arriving in numbers again soon! I think a beehive sounds like a great idea!
Hopefully your lavender will be filled with buzzing soon. We have loads of bees this year; when our weeping cherry bloomed, there was a loud hum coming from the tree during most daylight hours 😉
We have some bees around but I’m never sure whether they’re honeybees. Still, I’m happy to see their fat little bodies. It surprises me how nonchalant many people are about the bee decline–don’t they get it at all??
My granny told me” some people play chess but some people play checkers” meaning some folks can’t seem to make a connection more than 2 or 3 steps ahead and are only reactionary to problems. We need more chess players in the world! 🙂
No pesticides, two honey bee hives and a hotel for the native, solitary bees. They’re the unsung pollination heroes in the garden. Being all in the shade I’m limited in the range of flowering plants I can grow to provide food, but they all seem to like the hosta blooms–especially the bumblebees.
Well done, you! I’ll have to see about getting one of those bee hotels! Cheers, Ben
Beautiful capture! These are important messages. Thank you for the link. 🙂
Thanks so much, Amy!
Hear hear Benjamin! We have 2 hives and are enjoying beekeeping immensely. The good news is that there are different species being introduced that are hardier to the diseases and mites that are killing off the honey bees here. Its a great way to actively contribute to the cause!
Excellent! Well done, you! Three cheers for bees…and beekeepers! 😉
We keep bees. Unfortunately, after several years of this, I developed a pretty bad allergy to bee stings, so now all our bees are on other people’s property. But we aren’t giving up!
Sorry to hear about your bee allergy but glad to hear you’re not giving up! Cheers, Ben
Good for you in all of the above. And, what a stunning photo!! Hopefully, more and more folks will join this most important cause.
Thanks, Tina! Cheers to busy bees! 🙂
Yupp, our coneflowers and sedum are rising and budding nicely. I love bees, bumble bees and honey! Not a day goes by with out honey! I used to have a neighbor with bee hives, that was the best honey…maybe that will convince Mrs. Professor? A taste of ‘real’ honey. I have been stung by wasp and hornets and especially throngs of mosquitos and even a spider ( had an ear like a steak!) but never by gentle bees. I hope to see your own bee hive soon on your blog! Cheers, Johanna
Honey is, indeed, a great gift to one’s day! Glad to hear your flowers are getting ready to shine. Now if we can make it through this hot and humid patch 😉
We have lots and lots of bumblebees so at least we have activate pollinators. I don’t see many honey bees, but then I think the nearest hive is our local organic farm which would be about two miles away.
Good you are doing your bit to keep the bees going. I grow phacelia, which bees love 🙂
Thanks, Helen! I’ll have to try some phacelia in our garden as well. Cheers, Ben
What a beautiful post, Benjamin. I remember those barefoot days and the occasional bee sting. I used to catch bumble bees in recycled mayonnaise jars just to watch them up close, then let them go. There were so thick on some of our shrubs back then! We also grow fennel and parsley for the larvae, and try to have nectar flowers in bloom in early spring. Best wishes, WG
Thanks so much! Glad to hear the bees are happy and well-fed in your neck of the woods! Cheers, Ben
I think about a hive but wonder will the surrounding corn fields slathered in round-up secure them an untimely fate? Wish I could put up a sign– Buzzers Beeware!
Corn is wind-pollinated so perhaps the bees would leave those Round-up coated stalks alone. Best of luck!
cool shoT! 😎
We plant clover in our lawn (whatever lawn is left now that I’ve converted most of it to pasture/veggie beds. It’s easy, cheap and boy do those bees love it! Thanks for bringing up this timely & important issue!!!
Thanks, Lori, and great idea with the cover crops!
I just read a report on study that says the honeybees are fine, it’s the other kinds of bees we have to worry about. What to think?
I’ve heard bumblebees are especially in decline as they don’t tolerate changes in climate very well and aren’t migrating north to find temps…definitely something to keep an eye on.
over the years we have had hives of the boxed variety – 2014 saw my partner build a kenyan style hive that is going about its busy ness. different here in this country of course but still everything I have added to our wild patch is bee/bird food. many native bees live in our forest as well. just now the red gums and the stringy bark trees are about to flower as is the tree lucerne which the bees go nuts about. go the backyard beehive I reckon.
Wonderful! I love watching those little creatures go about their busy work. And enjoy it yet again when I’m adding honey to my tea 😉
I too love the idea of keeping bees. Our local Children’s Discover Museum has an active hive so children get a first hand perspective on what they’re like.
I have a small tube shelter in my garden for attracting Mason Bees, and plant lots of flowers and vegetables (in none drought years) as well. They love our Salvia (drought tolerant, Hurrah!) and sunflowers, pumpkins and tomatoes.
We added a mason bee house to the garden to this year. But we’re trying to keep the carpenter bees from burrowing into our deck 🙂
I’ve heard that the carpenter bees can be quite destructive. I wonder if there is any natural deterrent you can use, one that won’t harm the bees, but that discourages boring holes?