Bees – An Essential Buzz for your Garden

Bees play an essential role as pollinators in the garden.

Without bees many of our vegetables and fruit would never get to harvest stage.  The more you can encourage bee activity the better your pollination will be.

Bees love flowers and pollen so the best way to attract them is create a garden full of pollen.  Plant flowers in between the veggie patch and soon you will attract a yard full of buzzing activity – this doubles as a way to have a nice mix of colour in your garden design.

When people think of bees they commonly think of honey bees.  But pollinators come from a varied range of insects as does environmental factors such as wind.

In Australia we need critical input to our gardens from our Native bees, of which there are more than 1500 species, it’s what will determine whether our tomatoes will pollinate or not!

You need to make sure you use insecticides properly as insects are adversely affected if insecticides aren’t used with due care. They may even be harmed by other substances such as fungicides.   You may recall that scientists were concerned around the extinction of bees, which have been dropping off in droves over the past 10 years.

They have good reason to be worried with such a drop off as more than one third of the world’s crop production is dependent on bee pollination.

MacArthur Fellow Marla Spivak says this dramatic decline in bee population is due to changes in farming practices.

“There’s been a 300 % increase in production of crops that require bee pollination since WWII, we’ve started using much more synthetic fertilizer, and created crop monocultures, systematically eliminating the flowering plants that bees need for survival”

At the same time, we’ve started using pesticides, and now every batch of pollen that a honeybee collects has at least six traces of pesticides in it – including neonicotinoids.

“These pesticides move through plant tissue; parasites take a bite and die. But neonicotinoids make bees intoxicated and disoriented, and in high enough concentration it can kill them”

You can watch Maria’s full TED talk at this link.

Gardenhood loves bees and all buzzing things – we are thinking of creating a bee activist group.    If you are interested let us know 🙂