Monday, January 23, 2012
Hello from David & Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We had a wonderful Christmas and we are looking forward to 2012. Already the new bee year is in FULL SWING!
In today’s lesson, I’ll be sharing 6 ways you can help save the honey bees.
1. Start Keeping Bees
There is a tremendous interest in beekeeping. So many people are getting back to nature, planting their own gardens, buying small farms, eating local food and striving to be more self sufficient. As a result, more and more people are putting bees on their farms for pollination and to provide a natural sweetener.
Remember as a kid how you had to be careful when you went barefooted across the backyard not to step on a honey bee. Not too long ago, it was common to have a jar of honey on the table as a natural sweetener and often it had a big chunk of comb in the jar. Remember seeing your grandpa or dad out there having so much fun working the bees. We need to rally folks to help restore beekeeping back to the way it was, when there were plenty of bees to pollinate our crops.
If your garden and orchards are not producing like they should, it may be that they are not being adequately pollinated. Please consider placing a couple of hives in your area. Bees can fly up to three miles, so you’ll be helping out others in your area too. Maybe you’ve always wanted to keep bees. Perhaps you’ve thought about it each year but waited too long. Read our special article for those interested in starting this year.
2. Encourage Others To Keep Bees
If you are a beekeeper you are in a perfect position to encourage someone else to keep bees. Ask them to assist you as you work your hives and give them a jar of raw honey. They’ll noticed the difference from store bought honey. Help set up their new hive and help install their new package. A couple of buddies that live near each other might want to keep bees. So many great friendships have been started through beekeeping.
Also, consider encouraging young men and women to keep bees. We need more young people to enter into beekeeping. Young beekeepers ensure a solid future in beekeeping. Beekeeping is a beautiful way to teach many categories of science to young children. It is also a great way to teach responsibility and work ethics.
3. Be An Ambassador For The Honey Bees
Even though public awareness of honey bees is really good, honey bees are sometimes viewed in the wrong way. Some people immediately are scared of honey bees and pass along wrong information such as all bees are killer bees. That’s not true at all. We now have queens that are so gentle that there is no reason to have a defensive hive. It is very easy to requeen an overly defensive hive and in 45 days the new queen will have produced bees that reflect her gentleness.
Speak positively about beekeeping and honey bees. Share with others that 1 out of 3 bites of food is a result of honey bee pollination. Tell others that raw honey never spoils and has many proven health benefits.
If you are a beekeeper, do not pass up opportunities to speak at schools, clubs and civic organizations. Talk with your local newspaper or TV stations and see if they are interested in doing a story on honeybees.
If you remove honeybees from homes, always call the news stations and ask them to do a story on the removal of honeybees from a home. When they interview you, speak positively about the need for honeybees. Be a good ambassador of the honey bee.
4. Buy USA Raw Honey
With so many beekeepers bottling US raw honey directly from their hives, there is no reason to purchase honey from unknown sources. Support your local beekeepers by buying local honey. It has even been suggested that raw honey from your local area can help relieve some allergies. By buying honey from a local beekeeper you are helping them continue their hobby or business.
5. Let Roadways, Ditches and Fields Grow Wild
For bees to have sufficient nutrition a variety of pollen and nectar is needed. Bees that have only one type of floral source are not able to receive the balance of nutrition needed. One way you can help is to allow wild flowers to grow freely along roadways, ditches, yards and fields. Every spring dandelions fill yards. These dandelions are needed by the bees for their first real strong source of nectar following a long winter. Yet, so many people use chemicals to destroy dandelions. Do your part and allow these and other flowers to grow freely, giving the bees the variety of nectar and pollen they need for a good start in the new year.
If you have fields available for cover crops consider planting clover, alfalfa or buckwheat.
6. Reduce Harmful Spraying Around Yards, Gardens & Orchards
Finally, be careful when spraying your yard, garden and trees with insecticides. When you use an insecticide powder dusting, bees can pick up this toxic chemical and carry it back into their hive which will kill the hive. Avoid using chemicals which are harmful to bees. If you live near agricultural fields start an open dialog with the farmer. Have your farmer notify you when chemicals will be used. This will give you time to either temporarily move your hives during the spraying or to seal the entrances to your hives to protect them from spraying.
Please forward this information on to others so they too can help save the honey bee!