The Necessity of Gardeners Being Beekeepers

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Thinkinaboutit, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    If the bee population has declined so much is it necessary to raise your own bees in order to have a really successful garden? What is your experience? What would you recommend?
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2005
    Bristol, ny
    Plants don't need bees to flower at all. However they do a great job of pollinating fruit and vegetable plants. If you have bees you'll need a few supplies to deal with honey and alot of info about what they need.

  3. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 21, 2004
    deep south texas
    Over All about 30% of All food crops NEED bees.We have about 36 hives at any given time soon to be more as pollination season comes in Jan.
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    South Central Wisconsin
    Flies, ants, and even many pest insects will also do a good job of pollinating flowers. In our community gardens, 1.08 acres, I have yet to see a single honeybee in two seasons. The closest local beekeeper lost all but 2 of 25 swarms last winter and is too old to start over. And yet we have no trouble with tons of zucchini, squash, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers. All of those demand insect help in order to pollinate and are doing just fine without bees, either native or foreign.

  5. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2002
    I have no inclination to become a bee-keeper, but I have no problem with pollination because I grow a lot of herbs. The flowers of basil (which flowers constantly) and thyme particularly attract bees. Lemon Balm is also known as the Bee Herb. The Greek Basil is the one the bees love best of all.

    I think if there is a bee-shortage, it's because too many people are too free with insecticides. These kill good insects (like bees) as well as the bad ones. If you MUST spray, do it very early in the morning or late in the evening, at which times the bees aren't so active.

    Do a google search for bee-attracting plants. Here's just one of many I picked at random.

  6. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

    Sep 16, 2005
    AR (ozarks)
    I plan on raising them as soon as I get home, I took an apiculture couse at the university and bought 6k worth of hives and equipment before I was deployed.
  7. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 16, 2003
    Southern Maryland
    Lots of polinating insects are attracted by cilantro and dill - these are pretty much weed herbs here (they self seed freely and pop up everywhere). Oregano and basil are also good attractors, but flower later so don't help the early crops. Honey bees seem to like oregano best - we do a bee count (I love bees) and oregano always has the highest number of honey bees, though unfortunately seeing 3-4 at a time is a good sign these days. Bumble bees prefer the beans and squashes and fall asleep hugging the lavendar.
    Culpepper, does Australia have the same problem with tracheal and varroa mites that america does? Before these mites I never thought we would see a time when wild honey bees were rare. Luckily the mites don't seem to affect the native bees and we are seeing more of those each year.
  8. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 12, 2005
    East central WI
    Honeybees tend to like things that flower by the acre. I have beehives in my garden, and they pretty much ignore it. Most of my fruits and veggies get pollinated by wasps, bumblebees and squash bees.

    Honeybees actually have to be "fooled" into pollinating many crops.

    Lavender, dill, and fennel attract lots of pollinators.
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    The European honeybee is an import. Yet there have been flowering plants being pollinated in the New World since the beginning of flowering plants.

    If I see a dozen honeybees a year at Dun Hagan then I've seen a lot. Yet I still manage to have my flowers pollinated. It gets done by a variety of insects - bumblebees, the Southeastern Blueberry Bee, wasps, moths, butterflies, several that looks like some sort of fly to me, ants and probably some other insects that I haven't twigged to yet.

    If there is a lot of pesticide spraying in your area you may not see many or any of these other insects. If there isn't they are likely there though it might be a good thing to encourage them by planting stuff that would attract them, providing structures that they can use for housing and so on.

  10. HeatherDriskill

    HeatherDriskill Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    So, if I don't want to be a beekeeper, but do want to make sure my plants are well pollinated, I can plant some bee attracting plants? This is great!
  11. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2002
    Well, we have had many years with bees and many without and I know that they help your garden but especially your orchard. This year our trees are loaded with peaches,pears,plums,apples...second year we've had these 10 colonies. In years past we've had sporatic production of fruit. See them alot in the garden but not sure how much pollinating they really do. We have a large bumblebee population,too. DEE