May 11, 2013

Honeybees are an important part of the ecology in our area. They are responsible for approximately 80% of pollination in the U.S. for the fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables.

Unfortunately, the honeybee population has been in decline due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) over the last several years. During the winter of 2006-2007, some beekeepers began to report unusually high losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. Cornell University estimated that the direct value of honeybee pollination in the U.S. was $14.6 billion. Pretty astounding right!?

So how do we help them? Homeowners can start by planting a diverse flowering garden. A combination of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals provide a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and fragrances. Also, try to have plants that will bloom in every season – at least from early spring to late fall. As pretty as they are, the plants with double flowers do not produce that much pollen if any at all, so try to avoid these, if possible. And, never use a pesticide on a blooming plant! Even if there aren’t any bees currently on them, the pesticides carry a residual effect. If you are spraying weeds cut the blooms off first.

If you are a true bee lover and have the space, allow a strip of your lawn to grow without being mowed. This will provide a protected area where other pollinators can lay eggs and the flowers on what you may consider weeds will provide pollen and nectar.

Need help answering a tree or plant care related question? Call Independent Tree at 440-834-0200