BYH Project Manager
True BYH Addict
- Jul 9, 2012
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Taking care of an apiary is just one aspect of being a beekeeper. The benefit of taking up beekeeping as a hobby is that you will quickly discover you have opened up a wide variety of opportunities for providing for your bees. Additionally, their honey and wax can be used in various ways.
In addition to making extra money, beekeeping lets you educate others on products that can be made from them. It also promotes the importance of protecting the bee population in contributing to the health of the planet.
Beekeepers can also thoroughly enjoy their hobbies by having a bee garden where they can take care of their bees, and ensure an abundant supply of honey.
What are the benefits of planting a bee garden?Beekeepers who want to provide their bees with a special space for the purpose of collecting pollen and foraging will find a bee garden ideal. Depending on the space you have, a pollinator garden can be the size of a pallet or an entire field of wildflowers.
In addition to being a lovely addition to your yard, bee gardens are beneficial to your colony of bees and wild bees. You may also attract other pollinators, like hummingbirds, who aid the process of cross-pollination with your garden.
The following are a few additional reasons to have a bee garden:
1. Increase the global population of beesBee populations have been declining for some time. Pesticides, cell phone exposure, and climate change are some of the theories as to why the bee population has dropped.
Continuing declines in the bee population will threaten the very creatures that pollinate the plants that give us the food we eat.
Bee gardens are not only beneficial to your bees as a source of pollen, but they also provide food for native bees that may need a boost.
2. Food & Honey During Bee SeasonHoney bees require pollen to make honey. Therefore, by providing a special area where your bees can forage for the whole season, you will ensure that they have plenty of honey saved up for the winter. In addition, you will have enough honey for you to harvest.
A healthy beekeeping garden is one that blooms throughout the entire bee season, which generally lasts until September from March, depending on where you live. It means that when one season's flower matures to seed, a new one will follow closely behind it, ready to distribute its pollen.
3. Bee ShelterWhen did you last venture out without an umbrella during the rain? It is helpful for bees to have access to hiding places when caught in adverse weather or when being hunted by predators.
Floral foliage in bee gardens makes it easy for bees to duck under cover when needed, and they can also forage. It's easy for your bees to find security in a bee garden without any instruction from you; they are intelligent enough to find it without your help.
4. Control over plant typesIf you provide your bees with a space to forage, you can choose what plants you want them to eat. According to some people, you can taste the subtle differences between the taste of clover honey and dandelion honey. Therefore, you can control the taste of your honey by choosing the types of plants you grow.
There is a medicinal reason for providing a certain type of plant to your bees: allergies. Honey derived from specific plants may be able to help create immunity in people who are allergic to that particular plant by consuming the honey. Studies are in progress to investigate this possibility.
Those who are allergic to ragweed, for example, may find that consuming ragweed honey reduces their symptoms over time. Known as immunotherapy, this treatment is usually administered through routine allergy shots.
What Should Go Into Your Bee Garden
1. FlowersBees have to forage among flowers, but some flowers are easier to harvest for bees than others, because of their ease of collection. Bees prefer plants with a single flower to those with a bunch of flowers that are tightly clustered.
Planning your garden properly will ensure that your bees will have at least one or two flowers to choose from during the whole foraging season.
In your bee garden, you can grow these plants each season in turns, and each will provide blooms for the whole season:
- Spring: Borage & hyacinth.
- Summer: Echinacea, flowering hostas & bee balm.
- Fall: Sedum, witch hazel & goldenrod.
2. Bee BathsBees must have access to water. Water is used by bees to make honey moister and to drink.
A small birdbath would be nice for your bees, but a puddle of water on the ground would be even better. A puddle provides bees with minerals 7 nutrients from the ground that would otherwise not be accessible through raised dishes. This is a benefit for their health & productivity.
Placement of Bee GardensYour ideal beekeeping garden should be located either in an area that's already a major highway for your bees or somewhere they'll easily find it. Bees are very adept at locating the most suitable foraging spots. However, don't be surprised if it takes them some time to adjust their current flight plans, after all, they are habitual creatures.
Even though you might enjoy watching your bees forage through your newly planted paradise, everyone else in your family may not enjoy being so close to them. This includes your pets.
In an ideal world, your garden could be near the beehive, but not right in it, and in a place that does not receive a lot of foot traffic. Keep in mind that some people are afraid of bees and allergic to bee stings, so you should consider that when planting a bee garden.
There Is Nothing Wrong With WeedsIt comes without saying that you should never use herbicides or pesticides in your bee garden. You do not want your bees to be in any discomfort in their new garden because these substances are extremely harmful to them.
Get rid of weeds by hand if they bother you or stifle the flowers you want your bees to visit. Let your local weeds thrive, however, such as dandelions & milkweed, which are bee-friendly and probably put there by the bees!
Plus, monarch butterflies love milkweed, so these cute visitors will make your garden even more beautiful. A win-win situation!
ConclusionIt may be exhausting working hard on your homestead, but ultimately, you're rewarded with those quiet moments where you can take in the beauty and nature around you.
Rather than getting in the way of your hard-working bees, why not put a bench in your bee garden? You can spend some well-deserved time observing and admiring them, and their dedication to their work. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
So what do you think about beekeeping? Tell us below.