Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let your bees do the shopping

Like many shopping excursions, this one branched out a little more than I expected.

The plan was to go to the local Home Depot and buy large cement bricks.  I use them as the feet to set skids on to create a platform for the hives.

[Photo - Cat Mint plant]

Two cement blocks stacked up in each corner raises the platform enough to help deter skunks.  They'd have to stand on their back legs to reach the hives, baring their tummies.

And the bees know what to do with bared skin.

Just outside the store were racks of flowers.  I'm a huge fan of perrinials.  In fact, I don't have grass at home any more--just flowers.

I also have just about every flower going.  I stick with hardy perennials that can handle a dry summer and come back year after year.

[Photo - Dwarf Cranesbill plant]

When walking by the flowers I saw a foraging bee.

She was visiting the tiny purple blooms of a catmint plant.  Then she flitted to a purple cranesbill flower and fed there too.  I realized that that would be my bee since my hives aren't that far away.

I scooped the plants up and into the cart.  I had plans to put in a small garden out at the bee yard.  I wanted to plant flowers that bees like.  And these had been taste-tested by a pro.

Back home, I've been observing my plants as they bloom and I've been disappointed to see that most of the plants don't seem to attract the honey bees.  I regularly see bumble bees foraging in my garden.

Maybe I'm not watching at the right time of day.  I do have many well known plants that bees prefer but I figured most flowers would offer pollen and/or nectar of some sort.

[Photo - Obediant Plant]

Today I watched a bee waddling with a huge load of orange pollen.  She may have got them from tiger lilies which are just starting to bloom now.

Next time you go to buy some plants for your bees, take them along to help you choose the right ones.
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