Can You Help the Honey Bees?

April 10, 2012

YOU’VE PROBABLY ALREADY HEARD that bee populations are dwindling. And that’s bad news, because these buzzing insects are responsible for pollinating at least 1/3 of our nation’s crops. Fortunately there are three things we gardeners can do to help local populations survive:

1. Avoid pesticide use. Systemic pesticides are particularly toxic to bees. In fact, studies show that Clothianidin, a widely-used systemic, is at least partly responsible for honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder. The chemical, which bees ingest while foraging in non-organic areas, plays havoc with their nervous system. The bees become disoriented. They can’t find their way home to their hive, and consequently die from sheer exhaustion. (Last summer, I remember seeing honey bees drop one after another into our swimming pool. I have no doubt they were the victims of systemic poison.)

Clothianidin is manufactured by Bayer. It is widely used by industrial corn growers, but its use isn’t limited to commercial crops. While visiting my local hardware store recently, I looked at the label of Bayer’s “2 in 1 Rose & Flower Care.” Sure enough, this granular systemic, which is used by millions of home-gardeners, contains clothianidin. If you care for bees, please don’t use this product.

I should probably mention that Europe has already banned the sale of clothiandin. The United States Department of Agriculture, as you might have guessed, has seen no need to restrict the chemical, let alone ban it.

2. Plant Flowers. Honey bees will visit all flowers which offer pollen, but they are especially drawn to blossoms of blue and yellow. Indeed, they see yellow as blue. A case in point — the morning glories (above) which most summers grow on the fence in my herb garden, are always teeming with honey bees. Ditto the blue bachelor buttons pictured in the photo at the top of this post.

And here’s an interesting fact: Bees see red as black. Black is a danger signal to them, as most of their predators (including skunks and bears) have dark fur.

And if you’d really like to woo honey bees, be sure to grow Digitalis (Foxglove). The “honey spots,” or little dots on the interior of the flowers are used by bees as a sort of “landing-guide.” (The white eye of the morning glory, the copper halo of the coreopsis, the pink veins of a snapdragon — these, too, act as landing-guides for bees.)

3. Let some weeds remain.  Try not to be overly fussy about your lawn. If 94-year-old Clara Cannucciari hasn’t yet convinced you to keep your dandelions, perhaps a “Save the Bees” campaign will. Remember that clover, too, is highly desired by bees.

Think you’ll make a special effort to help the bees out? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I love hearing from you.

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Related Posts:
Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue’
An Old-Fashioned Shrub: Deutzia scabra
A Peach of a Shrub: Flowering Quince ‘Cameo’

Comments

  1. Elaine says:

    We have three hives of bees, and without a doubt raising bees will make you much more aware of what is blooming, when it is blooming, and how well it is blooming. It is so rewarding to watch them come and go, legs full of different colored pollens. Don’t be in such a hurry to mow your yard. For heaven’s sake – don’t use a lawn service! Let the dandelions and white clover grow for the bees. Two out of every three bites we take is due to bee pollination!!

  2. Annie says:

    It always makes me so happy to see the first bees in the spring! Last year we had a lot of ground wasps, they were horrible but I will gladly keep the bees. In fact, a few springs ago I was outside and heard this really loud buzzing noise from up above. A huge, buzzing cloud landed in our magnolia tree. At first I thought they were wasps and was ready to grab the poison and then I saw that it was actually a large swarm of bees! So I called around and a local beekeeper came out and collected them in a box. He was very nice and thanked me profusely for calling and not killing the bees. I am just glad I got to witness something so impressive, albeit slightly scary! But the bees were not interested in me, all they wanted was their queen and a new home…

  3. Melissa Swisher says:

    The bees in my area love the salvia, coreopsis, and cat mint blossoms in my flower beds. Currently I am trying to convert my yard to at least a 80-90% white dutch clover to grass ratio. So I hope my spreading nearly 5# of clover seed will please the bees.

  4. Elaine – Amen to all you said. Bee keepers rock.

    Annie – Fascinating story. I’ve always heard that when one finds a bee hive in the attic, not to kill the bees, but to call a bee keeper.

    Melissa – I have no doubt your bees will be pleased by the addition of clover to your lawn. Wise move!

  5. terry says:

    Bees love the purple flowers of my ground ivy too! Although I have been trying to get rid of that stuff it just keeps coming back, so I guess it isn’t so bad after all.

  6. Donna B. says:

    I SO agree! I will definitely plant more blue-yellow-toned blooming flowers this year! Thanks for the tip! Now… do “Grandpa Ott’s” morning glories count as ‘blue’? Mine are far more of a violet shade…
    Like Melissa above, I plan on trying to replace what is left of my backyard with clover – it seems to survive better from my rampaging dogs than grass does. I’ve actually gotten my dearest to agree that it looks nice – plus my neighbours will hate me! mwahaha!
    This past weekend I watched the grandfather in the house across the street from me spot-spraying his dandelions with round-up… it made me sad, but I also laughed as mine were blooming profusely in my front yard – beautiful bright and that gorgeous sunny yellow.
    I’m happy to blow the seeds into the wind to allow as many dandelions to grow where and as they see fit!

  7. Terry – Ground ivy and other weeds bearing purple or lavender flowers are very good for bees, as they are loaded with nectar. So, for the sake of the bees, it’s a good idea to have a yard that’s on the “wild side!”

    Donna B. – Violet contains blue, so yes to Grandpa Ott Morning Glories. I’m with you on dandelions — they are keepers (at least until I eat them).

  8. Kim Snay says:

    If you really want to kill weeds just use regular straight white distilled vinegar. You will save money and the environment.

  9. Terry says:

    oh my yard is on the wild side all right!

  10. Rosemeri says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I get so carried away planting my vegies that I forget to leave space for the flowers. The other day I picked up a six pack of Sweet Williams and planted them in a planter next to the garden. The next morning, I check on them and there was a honey bee happily exploring each and every tiny flower. I’m getting more flowers to plant today.

  11. Angela says:

    I’m trying to convert some of my 20 acre lawn to white clover (mostly to cut down on hubby’s mowing time) but also to attract more bees. I let the yellow clover grow in all of our ‘wild’ areas as well- mostly because it would be too much to manicure that- but also I love the smell- and it makes a beautiful bouquet if you cut enough of it, Now I have one more reason!

  12. LIsa says:

    It’s not just honey bees either! It’s cutter bees & Mason bees. You can even have a “nest” for them by simply getting some wood and drilling holes in it. This will help your garden grow that much better! This is my first year as a back yard beekeeper. Follow along with my blog if you like http://leesandherbees.blogspot.com/ you can find out how this goes for the average joe and maybeeee it’s something YOU can do too!

  13. Joan says:

    Plant the herb borage to attract bees.

  14. Rosemeri – Sweet William one of my favorites, too.

    Angela – With all that clover, your bees should be happy indeed.

    Lisa – Wonderful blog, Lisa! Very excited for you, and look forward to hearing about your bee-experiences.

    Joan – Thanks for the reminder — the blue flowers of Borage are perfect for bees. They even have “landing-guide” markings.

  15. Denise says:

    I don’t mind the “bees” at all but how do I get rid of the yellowjackets, wasps and hornets but still keep the bees??

  16. badger gardener says:

    Funny Kevin that the day you posted this I was “winter” sowing feverfew for the express purpose of repelling bees. I’m all for the “Save the Bees” campaign, but of course there can be occasion to not want them around. Like when your 7 y/o goes running indoors to his video games at the first sight of a bee. I read in RH SHumways that feverfew repels bees so I am trying for this natural solution. My one apprehension is I do need bees in certain parts of my yard so my plan is to plant them in containers so I can move them around if near the swing set ends up being too close to the veg garden, etc. (My son was stung on the ear once while swinging, poor guy). I think my deck will be fine as I’m mostly growing herbs and greens there, no need for pollination so I’m putting some there. I’m hoping they will keep away yellow jackets and paper wasps too. Will let you know.
    So, yes, I’m repelling bees, but am trying it in the most benign way possible : )

  17. Cary Bradley says:

    Wonderful ideas all. Excited to plant borage again for the first time in 20 years not only for the delicious flowers, but also for the pollinators :) ! Also looking forward to my bachelor buttons (winter sown, thank you!!!). Lest we forget the most important crops of all, allowing some of our brassicas to go to seed, makes pollinators laugh with joy!

  18. Deborah Rosen says:

    I love bees and understand their importance in our garden, but your article taught me more about bees than I ever knew. Thank you!

  19. Gladys says:

    My husband and I are also Beekeepers. We started with 2 hives and they swarmed which turned the 2 hives into 4 hives. This year we split them before they could swarm and are selling the split hives. We will continue to maintain 4 hives. This year has been an unusual year in that everything started much earlier (just like everyone’s gardens) the Queen too started laying early and the bees started foraging early. And the nectar flow is already through the roof. We already have a lot of honey on each hive that the bees store in “Supers”

    Another bit of information about honey. It can really help with seasonal allergies. I take a teaspoon or 2 of honey each day and do not have to take any allergy medicine. Only honey from a local beekeeper will help with allergies. It should be from a beekeeper within about 50 miles of where you live. BEWARE of honey bought in your local grocery store. Because it is not local (within 50 miles) it WILL NOT help with allergies. Always look at the label…yes, even on honey….because a lot of it comes from China…..and is mostly high fructose corn syrup!!! Besides, buying local is the way to support your local economy!!!

  20. Kate Porter says:

    We do plant to encourage Honey Bees. Also, my husband builds housing for Mason Bees. They are very friendly and great pollinators.
    Thanks for the information!!

  21. Dona Mara says:

    Thank you so much for alerting the public to the pesticide dangers which are made so available and innocuous looking with their flower covered packaging.
    The bees need and want the pollen heavy plants, they prefer the old fashioned varieties rather than new hybrids.
    Borage, comfrey, thyme, heather, and many other herbs are favorites.

  22. Peggie Armstrong says:

    I’m in western NC, and have been quite concrned that I havn’t seen bees around my gardens for the past 4 years – until this year ! they’re back ! I was so grateful to see them buzzing all over my rosemary bush early this spring. I didn’t know about the systemic fertilizers, thanks for the heads up.

  23. Lorri says:

    Lovely, timely article about bees. I wanted to reply to the comment that Annie made above. We have bees in the open space behind out house in the cottonwood and I just love having them in my garden every year. Each year–they do what is called “swarming”. It is a process to divide the hive and is essential to their surivial. I’ve been home 3 times now when it is in the process of happening. Please do nothing–do not call anyone–just allow it to happen on it’s own. The process is amazing—a new queen is hatched. When that queen is ready–”half” of the bees take her out to a temporary location usually on a tree branch nearby. Thousands of bees surround the new queen to protect her while scout bees go out and find a new home for the new hive. When that is accomplished, the scout bees go back and guide the new queen and her protectors (the entire swarm), to the new home and builds its hive. Nature, once again, fulfills it’s purpose. Please know–bees will not harm you unless their home is threatened. They are amazing creatures. I also think it is amazing that all the bees protect the one female that is necessary to their survivial. hmmmm…… Blessings to you all.

  24. Melissa Horton says:

    The bees are all over my rosemary and lemon blossoms. I am going to plant some heavenly blue morning glories today.

  25. Melissa Horton says:

    We are letting the clover grow in our grass lawn. It is soft, green and looks lovely.

  26. Una Byers says:

    I too have had the experience of hearing that loud buzzing overhead in my maple tree. Within a few minutes the bees had entered an old nesting box that my father-in-law had put up for squirrels! We’ve had our hive for 2 summers now. The only one getting at least one sting each year is our dog Kasey. He doesn’t realize what that buzzy sound is till it’s too late! Altho’ I think he’s finally getting the hint. lol I’ve found that the bees are attracted to water. They drink out of the birdbath and a small section of a garden fountain. Sometimes they get into the water and can’t swim to the side and drown, so I put a floating stick in the water that they swim over to to pull themselves out. I’d never heard of such a thing….bees drinking water, but have seen it with my own eyes!

  27. Dawn Gruss says:

    Our yard is a bee paradise with all our weeds! Someday I hope to raise bees.

  28. Deb Haack says:

    This spring was very early but the bees knew what they were doing. I went out with the camera to take pictures of the Pear and Peach trees blossoms. They were covered with bees. As I learn more about Mother Nature, I am releasing my fears of bees. They were so beautiful and they did not care that I was so close. They were busy pollinating and collecting honey. I have been planting flowers for the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds ever since we moved here in the country, 4 yrs ago. They are all so whimsical and magical. :-)

  29. Mary Francis says:

    I live literally right in the middle of cornfields on every side. I would hate to plant flowers to attract honeybees here what can I do?

  30. Ellen Henry says:

    Here in Albuquerque, the bees love rosemary. Blue flowers. and it blooms about the time the bees first emerge in the spring. I would love to own a hive, but it seems to be a rather expensive proposition.

  31. Anne Shea says:

    When I was a little girl, I seemed to be especially tasty to bees. I’ve been stung inside my turtleneck, between my toes inside my sandal, up the leg of my shorts, inside my ear…not to mention many, many stings on the bottom of my feet. I react somewhat (although not life-threateningly, but severely itchy for weeks) and always hated the bees. My children have hardly ever been stung by bees. I always thought it was because they just weren’t as tasty, but I guess it’s a decline in population. As much as I hated being stung, I always understood they were just trying to survive.

    In spite of my dislike for their stings, I do appreciate the work the bees do. I hate pesticides, so my grass is full of violets and clover…the dandelions are just starting to make their appearance. Now when I look at my weedy lawn, I will smile and know that I am helping the bees survive. Thanks for opening my eyes to this dilemma!

  32. Tonya says:

    Plan on taking all of these steps! We love to watch the bees buzzing around!

  33. lisa says:

    Wonderful article, and a message that cannot be overstated. There is nothing happier than a garden that is ALIVE with bees, butterflies, and birds. When will the obsession with “tidy” lawns and gardens end? My mother in law just had a magificent mature maple cut down because it was “dirty’ in the spring. Just discovered your site and love it.
    XO,
    Lisa

  34. Liz J says:

    Thanks for all this information, I’ll pass it along.

  35. Mauri says:

    We just noticed a hive in the sugar maple in our front yard — in fact, we noticed them first swarming one of our bird baths and then followed them to the tree. At first, it was a little concerning, as there were so many of them, but then I found I could even scoop bees who “fell in” out of the bath with a wooden spoon, and they don’t seem to care about me at all. They just keep going about their business, even when I am close up. Went to a garden show today and one of the beekeepers told us they need a lot of water. I have 3 birdbaths and will fill them all, as I usually do, for the birds, but now for the bees, too. We have several gardens, fruit trees, and ground cover (no chemicals here) so I hope they will also help keep us well stocked with produce this summer!

  36. Beverly says:

    Here’s a link to an excellent film about the plight of bees planet-wide. It was an eye opener. We rented a copy via Netflix but it may also be at your local library. I highly recommend seeing it if you have an interest in bees. There are admirable scientists at work on this issue, some of whom are featured in the film.

    http://www.queenofthesun.com/

    Here’s an excerpt from the link above… “Some big numbers to think about! In producing just one pound of honey, bees from the hive visit approximately one million flowers. The entire hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles. This is equivalent to one and a half orbits around the earth just to collect one pound of glistening honey.”

    In my diverse garden, equal parts sun and shade, I have hung home-made nesting tubes for mason bees to insert their larvae for overwintering. I collected the dried, hollow stalks of tall perennials, cut them to a uniform length, banded them together and wrapped the cluster with chicken wire to prevent birds from tearing away at the “deposits”. These nesting tubes hang against a south facing garage wall that is warm in winter. It was a thrill to see the little mud plugs mother bees made to close off the tubes.

    I think helping future offspring of bees is important in addition to providing nectar sources.

    Red Dahlias I have grown for years often feature bumblebees sleeping in their centers overnight, sometimes in pairs. Quaint and fascinating. I guess the “red is black” issue may be less important for larger solitary bees than for the honeybees.I am trying to remember seeing a honeybee on a red flower, and I don’t think I have.

    What a lot of interesting information you have provided Kevin, AGAIN!!!

  37. Catherine Safer says:

    I have so many flowers for the bees. They love the Autumn Joy Sedum and I let the oregano flower just for them. I am blessed to live in probably the only place on earth where the bees are happy. Newfoundland, Canada. We have never experienced collapsed colonies and there are no mites to bother them. Many people are beginnning to discover the joy of bee keeping. I hope to join them soon and set up a hive. Last spring I wondered at the high number of honey bees in my garden and recently discovered that a neighbor has hives. Meantime – along with veggies I will keep plenty of flowers in my garden.

  38. Wolfgang says:

    Greetings,

    I found the vinegar weed killer is a dud even after a second application, does not work on lots of weeds. I tried to use rock salt with it but have not seen any rain so do knot know its effectiveness. What else is there as a weed killer besides pulling that is not toxic to the earth?

  39. Cathy Browning says:

    My garden is definitely doing it’s part to save the honey bees. NO pesticides are used anywhere in my life or garden !

    I have hundreds of Virginia Blue Bells and Woodland Yellow Poppy and Bleeding Hearts, etc.

    AND, best of all wild plants have been brought into the garden and join all their friends including weeds. I love weeds, espec. Dandelions.

    Thanx for the helpful article.

  40. Mary says:

    Does anyone know if beekeepers would want to put boxes on your property? I don’t have any interest in keeping bees, but we have at least a dozen citrus trees and several other fruit trees, a bunch of roses and other flowers, in addition to hills of ice plant. The bees LOVE the roses and it is funny that when I got out there to clip roses, they have never bothered me and there are LOTS of them just busy busy in the orning before it is hot.

  41. Debbie says:

    Wow. I’m so glad I’ve found your website. I’ve learned a lot. I had no idea about the systemic and I’ve used it for years on my roses. Is there something that you suggest in place of it? I’m definitely giving it up. Thanks.

  42. Karen says:

    Hi Kevin. I liked this post and shared it with readers on my FB Page ” GMO Free Foods, Recipes ans Tips. Here is my link.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/GMO-Free-Foods-Recipes-and-Tips/330323693699252

    I created the FB Page as a way for us to share and learn to consume wiser, shop smarter and cook awesome GMO Free Foods while helping busy people cut through all the manusha and information quicker regarding GMO’s, Pesticides and more.
    Please pop over. Your post was a good share. I linked them back to you here.
    Wishing you a great growing season : )

    Thanks and happy gardening season to us all : )

  43. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this great article. So many great facts about bees that I never knew. My house will be banning the Bayer for good and hope it will help the bees in my neighboorhood. Thanks again!

  44. Sylvia says:

    Vinegar and bonemeal are the only things I use in my garden besides compost. I love bees and fortunately for them I also love blue flowers, I’m actually addicted to them. I use vinegar only on the paths and driveway to get rid of weeds. I also use tea and coffee grounds (blueberries) as well as compost and mature manure.
    We all have to do our part to save the bees and we can start by not buy the products that endanger and kill them. Eventually they will get the message because it is all about demand. Cut out the demand for all harmful chemicals, not just in your garden either and they will stop making them.
    There are plenty of books out there that give great examples on how to garden without chemicals. And I have yet to come up with a problem that didn’t have a healthy solution, Sure it takes that few seconds of effort to look it up, But so many species will thank you.
    The books I use as reference are called: 1,001 Garden Secrets by G.K. Wood 2004 and The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by Rodal and Staff 1977 which is a goldmine if you can find it 1145 pages of good information and no its not for sale :) . The first book is a great first reference and many times listing many solutions of things you probably already have in your cupboard, like club soda water, molasses, and even bee’s gift to us; honey and so much more.
    We damaged the bee population so we have to fix it. (we: meaning humans)
    Wonderful post!!

  45. Chuck Rasmussen says:

    Just attended a GREAT class/session on the life cycle of a bee colony at Colonial Williamsburg’s 66th Annual Garden Symposium. I too will now allow my lawn to grow clover etc. Thanks for the great post Kevin.

  46. Nothing makes me happier than seeing all the busy honey bees buzzing around our acreage… hopping from one patch of clover to another. Sure, we could make a huge effort to have a pristine green lawn… but I personally love the diversity of the clover, chickweed and everything else mixed in the with grass… and it’s hardy too! We don’t water and have a nice green lawn all Summer.

  47. Annie land says:

    I love bees and will gladly do anything I can to help them!

  48. shirley hill says:

    I love the bees – especially the honey bees. just wish someone could educate the public about the difference between honey bees and yellow jackets. too often I’ve seen people go after honey bees calling them their pesky lookalike. despite my pleading. I feel too many have been murdered and to the dismay of us gardeners we need all the pollen we can get. spread the word.

  49. Lynda says:

    I have a top bar hive on my acre. It has taken two years for the bees to stop flying off for parts unknown each day, but they are finally realizing that I have many flowers, clover, and dandelions for their dining pleasure. It was such a delight to see them all buzzing about in my lawns and gardens. I use no chemicals in the gardens here. My veggies get bugs, but I pick them off and feed them to the chickens,

    BTW, I had read that using the top bar hive would reduce my bees to HALF the size of commercially kept bees. Over two years, this is exactly what has happened! I see no evidence of disease or parasites in my hive, and I don’t use chemicals on them. It is amazing!
    ~ Lynda

  50. Tina M Comroe says:

    I use NOTHING that the BAYER Company makes. The company was one of the many in Nazi Germany that used Jewish prisoners in internment camps as live lab rats. Which only stopped with the Americans capturing the company during WWII. They try to put a good face on for business, but many still remember what they did. No matter what good they do now, it will never make up for what they did to fellow human beings. That and they are also a subsidiary company for Montsano..A company well known for its bio chemicals used in warfare and their GMO experimentation that is causing sickness worldwide.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes and your great Blog! I love reading everything you put up!

  51. Audrey says:

    Post 38, Wolfgang
    Boiling hot water is very effective for spot treating hard to pull weeds in cracks and crevices. Works good on tap root weeds and anything else you may have a problem with. Use a teakettle to direct the hot water where you need it and to keep from burning yourself with back splash. Now, you are not going to be able to cover large areas with boiling hot water, but perhaps you can try covering those areas with cardboard or a tarp to smother weeds then mulch the area to keep weeds down. We recently had some neighborhood children playing in the yard with our grandchildren. They were trying to kill the bees with soap bubble solution! I quickly stopped them and explained why the bees are good, not bad. But they insisted that bees are bad because they sting. I told them I have lived here for 20 years surrounded by bee filled gardens and have never been stung, not even once. Let the bees do their work and they won’t bother you.

  52. It’s always reassuring to see more people talking about saving the bees. Hard to believe our government just never seems to have it’s priorities right, particularly with regard to Nature. The best we can do is talk about it to everyone we know, and then practice organic gardening…or at the very least, just permit a few “weeds” to stay in the lawn or gardens. Afterall, weeds are only God’s beautiful gifts where mankind doesn’t want them. We hand pull many of the Dandelions in our lawn and I think my hubby deliberately neglects some which means seeds for flowers next year. Also in our lawn is the most charming little blue flowering creeper, Creeping Speedwell, which I’m sure the neighbors frown upon, but which I find so gorgeous and of course the bees adore it. This year the popular “weed” talk is targeted at the beautiful Garlic Mustard, which I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t just leave it alone as it’s another delicate beauty. Oh, and another that has really spread quickly and that bees absolutely LOVE are Jewel Weeds…yes, that’s the name. It’s a tall, spindly, shade loving plant that masses together to form fabulously huge waves of delicate green foliage with incredibly delicate little orange flowers dangling from the tops. A real gem (pun). My gardens are always home to various wildflowers that encourage bees or all types. Yes, it’s a little bit wild, but I try to keep the front edges tidier and give the rest to Mother Nature…afterall, she knows best!! :o )

  53. Judy says:

    Thanks to you, I’m going to keep that small area of clover at the bottom of my hill — thanks for mentioning it’s a favorite of honey bees. — I was planning to tear it out!

  54. SandraG says:

    I had no idea that Bayer Rose & Flower Care was harmful to bees! I recently bought an organic fertilizer and started using it and will throw out any of the unused Bayer product and pass the word on. I have been reading more and more about planting for bees. I have water sources in my flowerbeds and have planted flowers that they are attracted to. I’m in Texas and planted the Indian Blanket flower this year (Gaillardia). It’s blooming like crazy in the heat. The honey bees love it almost as much as the different coreopsis that I’ve planted.

  55. SavannaJones says:

    Thanks! Want you to know I sooooooo enjoy your gardening and food words of wisdom and creativity. Thanks, too, for being so specific about what common pesticides kill bees and are still available on the market.

    Having gone to Berkeley back in the late 60′s and early 70′s I’m sometimes inclined to do a little “persuasive Granny save-the-world marketing” so that stores will be more apt to stop selling some items. How about little yellow stickies placed on pesticides saying “kills bees.”

  56. SavannaJones says:

    BTW, some time ago I read an interesting article about Cuba and what happened after the Russians pulled out . . . Since the Russians no longer were supplying fertilizers, chemicals, farming equipment, etcl, the Cubans were reduced to their own devices and as a result became the LARGEST ORGANIC FARM in the world . . . and, in the process, became a lot healthier.

  57. S. Jones says:

    Yes, I know I’ve spelled Tupolo incorrectly.

    BTW, some time ago I read an interesting article about Cuba and what happened after the Russians pulled out . . . Since the Russians no longer were supplying fertilizers, chemicals, farming equipment, etcl, the Cubans were reduced to their own devices and as a result became the LARGEST ORGANIC FARM in the world . . . and, in the process, became a lot healthier.

  58. Barbara says:

    What do you suggest to kill pests on plants?

  59. jvbs says:

    I had been using Bayer Rose and Flower Care for years, until about 4 years ago when I decided to have a completely organic yard, flower and vegetable garden. I had no idea about that chemical in it, and now I’m glad I stopped using it. I love reading your stuff, I have learned so much from you.

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  62. Scott Trudell says:

    Hi Kevin…. I was reading through some of your older postings and came across your information on Bayer products. I work in a greenhouse and we sell literally hundreds of jugs of this stuff every season. I myself used to pour this product on my roses every spring and summer and drench their foliage with it on a regular basis all in the name of having perfect flowers. In the past few years I have been reading horror stories about Bayer products and its effect on the environment.. I also read that this product kills beneficial mycorrhiza in the soil which roses, and other plants, need for healthy growth. You will be glad to know that in the past couple years I have stopped using Bayer products and have begin adopting a more organic approach to gardening. I now mix my own rose fertilizer using products like blood meal, cottonseed meal, greensand, alfalfa pellets and lots of homemade compost and leaf mold. I have also, in the past five years, ripped out all my hybrid tea roses and replaced them with old garden roses, hardy shrub roses and David Austin roses… All of which seem less prone to insect and disease damage than the prima donna hybrid teas. I feel my garden is now a happier, and safer place, for me and the environment. Oh… and back at the greenhouse… I do all I can to steer customers away from products like Bayer… despite the fact that the owners want us to sell as much of it as we can. But that’s our little secret, OK?

  63. Scott – I’m with you on hybrid teas — they seem to attract every pest and disease known to the plant kingdom. Regarding Bayer Rose & Flower Care and other bee-harming garden-potions…well, your secret is safe with me!

  64. JulieBaby says:

    After living in a big old Victorian in America’s Coolest Small Town, we have recently moved to a more rural area where we can become more self-reliant. One of the things I am interested in is keeping bees. I contacted a statewide beekeeping association and learned that they are looking for properties where they can establish hives and create bee sanctuaries. I offered our property and am waiting impatiently to hear back from an interested beekeeper.I figure this way I can learn about beekeeping firsthand without making a financial investment, and will be able to make a more infomed determination if this is something that I can really attempt. But, more importantly, the bees will benefit. I am so excited!

  65. JulieBaby – What a great way to learn the art of bee-keeping! Thanks for alerting me to this program.

  66. I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. Such
    clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  67. Sharon says:

    Oh, do the bees LOVE the white clover blossoms in my lawn!! They also like the purple mountain sage, pink & purple lamium, oregano blossoms. Trying to get my neighbors to stop using Ortho, Bayer, & Scott’s/Miracle Gro products, but try telling that to a 86 year old who has been poisoning his lawn since before you were born…

  68. Marilyn says:

    I did not see any post that mentions Africanized (killer) bees. I live in central North Carolina and I have not seen honey bees for several years. This year I have (finally) seen them. Unfortunately, they have been on the hummingbird feeder, for the past few days. Tomorrow, I plan on going to buy a feeder that is supposed to be bee resistant. I have notices that these bees seem a lot more aggressive than the honey bees that I remember. They have been flying around me and landing on my watering cans. I looked at some pictures that compare European to African honey bees and the Africanized bees seem to be darker and less hairy on their back portion. The bees that have showed up look (more) like the Africanized bees. I have been trying to see where they are flying to. So far I have not located their hive. (It may not be in my yard). Also, how far do they normally fly from their hives, in search of a food source?

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