This is a honey bee. She is a Carniolan, one of the nicest breeds of bees. Note her light brown color with black stripes. She is not yellow. Most bees aren’t. Honey bees are one of approximately 5,000 species of bees that live in North America, 8 of which are currently on the endangered species list.
Honey bees produce ALL of the honey, beeswax, royal jelly, and propolis that Americans consume for food, nutrition, beauty products, protective coatings, furniture polish/stains/wax, and stains for some musical string instruments (look up how Stradivarius violins get that fancy color). They pollinate most of your garden flowers, and most of the fruit that you eat. They are calm, docile, industrious little creatures who’s only focus is the pollen and nectar of flowers.
The bees are in trouble: 2 of every 5 hives will collapse this year and this nice weather isn’t helping. As temperatures start to hit 50 F the honey bees will begin their search for new nectar supplies. But it’s too early for enough flowers to be blooming to support the bees and they will quickly burn through their stores of honey, which means that they might starve to death before spring even gets here.
But the good news is that you can help the bees!
1. DON’T PULL THE DANDELIONS YET! If you are itching to get a head start on the weeds, leave the dandelions alone. This may be the only source of food the bees have early in the year.
2. Consider skipping the pesticides this year. Pesticides, yes even the ones you use in your house, have been linked with lowered sperm and egg counts for bees, meaning fewer and fewer baby bees, which means more hive collapse.
3. When planning your garden pick up a pack of wild-flower seed from your local nursery. Bees love wild flowers, and you will too! They also love lavender, mint, thyme, basil, calendula, chamomile, and many other flowers. Pretty much anything yellow.
4. BUY LOCAL HONEY!! By buying local, you are supporting small farmers and back-yard beekeepers who are the guardians of the bees. We monitor their health, and can help them when they get sick, or are attacked by pests or predators. We make sure they have enough food to survive the winter, enough space to store honey, and we also breed them to be stronger, sweeter, and more resilient to disease. If you buy from a local keeper you are helping them maintain that tradition.
If you have any questions please Contact Evelyn Grace Linford at Desert Hive Supply
Written By Evelyn Grace Linford