Native Pollinators Pushed Out By Honey Bees

The urban beekeeping fad is still going strong in the United States with city and rural folks jumping in on this exciting agricultural hobby. For some it’s the lure of fresh honey; pure in form with no water added. For others it is part of the larger gardening craze called pollinator gardens. And I suspect for most people, it’s a little of both.

On the commercial side, honey bee pollination is critical to the agriculture system that has emerged here in the United States. Crops such as blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bees and almond growers rely entirely on the honey bee for pollinating their trees. It is estimated that more than a million colonies are needed each year in California just to pollinate the state’s almond crop. Some argue that if it weren’t for the introduction of the honey bee, we would not be the agricultural powerhouse we are.

But this success story is not without a down side. Continue reading “Native Pollinators Pushed Out By Honey Bees”

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My Favorite Fall Flowers for Pollinators

Fall flowers in the garden are important to pollinators such as honey bees because they need to store up as much pollen and nectar as possible before winter arrives. These stores are necessary to sustain them through the winter because they do not hibernate and they need to eat while keeping the hive warm. The average hive needs fifty to sixty pounds of honey to survive until spring.

Bumblebees on the other hand do not overwinter colonies. The last brood of the year consists of several queens that hibernate. And although her metabolism rate slows allowing her to live for long periods while burning very little fuel, the queen still needs Continue reading “My Favorite Fall Flowers for Pollinators”

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