“It takes a bee to get the honey out.” ~ Arthur Guiterman
My last home was located near a large park. One day, while working out in the garden, I heard the most unusual noise. It was a magnificent humming sound….it was curiously low pitched and it was coming closer.
I looked up and coming down the street, was a large, dark, airborne blob.
A swarm of bees.
It was very exciting. I didn’t think to run inside for shelter, so I stood there and watched, (mouth gaping) totally mesmerised as the buzzing mass hovered over my head and continued on their way to find a new hive. It was awesome.
But, I have always loved bees. Melissa actually means “honey bee” which is a happy coincidence.
Bees have a bit of an unfair bad reputation. The sting, (for the bees that have them) admittedly, is a problem. Perhaps even mortally so if you are in the 1% of the population that is allergic. The good news is, bees are generally not agressive when left alone to go about their work.
Today, The (London) Daily Telegraph reported that bee stings kill as many people in the UK as terrorist attacks do! David Anderson, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said “The annualised average of five deaths caused by terrorism in England and Wales over this period compares with total accidental deaths in 2010 of 17,201, including 123 cyclists killed in traffic accidents, 102 personnel killed in Afghanistan, 29 people drowned in the bathtub and five killed by stings from hornets, wasps and bees.”
That seems like a bit of an unfair comparison to me. A much more interesting headline may have been, “Boffins prove that Cleanliness is closer to Godliness” or “Pushbikes deadlier than the front line.”
Bees are so essential to our daily life, going way beyond delivering honey to our hot toast in the morning. Indeed, out of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, more than 70 are pollinated by bees.*
Sadly, bees are on the decline. Pesticides, viruses, parasites, insecticides, malnutrition, the intensification of agriculture, habitat damage and even a lack of biodiversity are all suspected contributors to their demise. Any threat to bees, is a direct threat to our food supply. Already, some Chinese farmers are reporting of the need to hand pollenate their crops as the bees disappear.
Lucky for me, I already have bees around our blooming citrus. It occured to me that seeing a bee in the garden has become a bit of a novelty, rather than a normality. Perhaps that is also a contributing reason why my yields have been low in seasons past.
So in an effort to attract more bees to the garden, I am planning to plant an array of bee attracting flowers to the veggie patch. Come spring, I want to have the air alive with the activity of busy little bees.
In the next few days, I’ll have my final planting list together, one that is best suited to our dry climate. It has taken a bit of research!
What do the bees love in your garden?
*Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/888085-how-will-the-decline-in-bee-numbers-affect-the-human-race#ixzz1z9NSDuQg