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Gardening for Honey Bees

By Mindy03
August 15, 2012

Most gardeners I know garden for birds or butterflies, but not me. I garden for honey bees and have learned a lot about honey bees and flowers in the process.

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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Aug 14, 2012 6:11 PM CST
I could read about your bees forever Margaret Lovey dubby

Thank you Thumbs up
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Aug 14, 2012 6:13 PM CST
Thank you Vic. You'll be happy to hear I have more bee articles planned for the rest of the year.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Aug 14, 2012 6:18 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Thumbs up
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Aug 14, 2012 6:33 PM CST
Interesting, Mindy.

I find cramming way too many flowers into a much too small space attracts lots and lots of bees. And butterflies and hummingbirds. Hilarious!
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Karen
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Aug 14, 2012 6:37 PM CST
All that cramming is what's attracting them Karen. Lots of flowers in one compact space means less energy spent going from flower to flower.

In my garden the plants the like that has the most flowers on a plant the more likely they are to visit it. The exception is sunflowers they always go to those.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Aug 14, 2012 7:28 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I've got my bees microbadge. Smiling We've had bees for several years and this year has been the best for us ever. I've given a lot of thought to growing certain plants specifically for the bees to enjoy. There are a lot out there, for certain.

Our vitex tree normally gets attacked by the bees but this year they have left it mostly alone. I think it's for the same reason that you cited: there are other things out there more attractive to them.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Aug 15, 2012 5:27 AM CST
Congratulations on your bee badge Dave. I think everyone should have one of those.

It's interesting to see which plants the bees will visit from year to year. One year a plant is a favorite and the next year they may not even visit it.
PA (Zone 5b)
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DEMinPA
Aug 15, 2012 5:54 AM CST

Great article. I'll be looking for more.

Have a great day.

Don
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Aug 15, 2012 7:31 AM CST
Thank you Don. More coming soon.
Name: Avedon
NE Tex (Zone 8a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Hummingbirder Region: Texas Salvias Bee Lover
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Avedon
Aug 15, 2012 8:07 AM CST
This is an extremely interesting and useful article. Here in our garden one of the big attractions for the bees are zinnias. All our zinnias come volunteer from seeds. Therefore, most have reverted to few petals which means the pollen sits right up for the bees and other pollinators. I call our zinnias the "aircraft carriers" because the flat surface makes it easy for pollinators to land. Other favorites are the big bushes of blue salvia--salvia guaranitica-- which have lots of blooms, and since I read your article, I understand why. Lots of blooms in a on a big bush, less energy expended. I will be looking for more helpful hints when you post again. Oh, I understand goldenrod is a super plant for bees, and since it is a fall bloomer, must extend the season. Avedon
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
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tabby
Aug 15, 2012 8:51 AM CST
Now that there are six hive on my property, I've been trying to make a log of what flowers they like, and when. They definitely have their preferences and even if they like one thing one day, if something better comes along they all go to that new flower. Right now they're all heading south to the alfalfa fields just south of me.

I'm trying to see what I can do to improve the gaps in my flowers. I need more late flowering plants. I have loads of stuff for early spring and summer. The hives are right under six fruit trees so spring will be crazy there.

White clover in the lawn ended up being a good thing. It blooms later than a lot of other stuff and regrows new flowers quickly after mowing. We're planning on seeding our huge leach field with it this fall or next spring.

I've always had bees in my roses.
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
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Mindy03
Aug 15, 2012 1:35 PM CST
I'm glad you enjoyed the article Avedon. Yes, goldenrod is an excellent honey bee plant for late summer and early fall. It provides the bees with food for winter storage. You can find other articles I've wrote on honey bees at this link http://garden.org/ideas/view/Mindy03/21/Honey-bees-in-the-ga...


Tabby you can find plant lists for July, August and September at these links

July http://garden.org/ideas/view/Mindy03/21/Honey-bees-in-the-ga...

August http://garden.org/ideas/view/Mindy03/49/Honey-Bees-In-The-Ga...

September http://garden.org/ideas/view/Mindy03/93/Honey-bees-in-the-ga...
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Aug 15, 2012 7:08 PM CST
Good article, Mindy! Thumbs up
We also have clover on our leach field, and this summer I didn't mow, so the bees had more clover than usual.
They also like our yard because we have a pond, and many water sources dried up this year. Our beekeeper brought in 2 more hives last week because he thought we had more food and water sources than his other landowners.
The beekeeping forum here has been really helpful to me since it's only my 2nd year officially keeping bees.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Sandy Coffman
Jacksonville, Florida
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida Dog Lover
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wren
Aug 15, 2012 7:39 PM CST
I have the Honey Bee and the native bees(4 kinds) that swarm my African Basil
I get my S.H.A.R.E. Pollinator Partnership certification this month
http://www.pollinator.org/SHARE.htm
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
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CindiKS
Aug 15, 2012 8:38 PM CST
Great link, Wren! I signed up too! They sound like a wonderful organization.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
Aug 15, 2012 10:08 PM CST
Oh yeah, water sources are important too. Another reason the beekeeper liked our yard was the multiple water gardens we have.
The bees spend a lot of time at the water.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Aug 16, 2012 6:54 AM CST
Thank you Cindi I'm glad you are enjoying the beekeeping forum and the articles.
We have clover in several hay fields here and they get mowed after the bees have finished working the blossoms then they bloom again for another round of pollinating by the bees.

Thanks for the link Wren looks like something we are already doing here as most of our farm is left to grow wild which benefits all wildlilfe here.

Yes, water is an important element for beekeeping. They need it to drink and also to keep their hives cool when it's hot. We have ponds and a creek here htey can visit.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CindiKS
Aug 16, 2012 11:35 AM CST
I noticed scratch marks on the bottom of our boxes this morning. They are sitting on 6" bricks, with the openings facing east. On the back is a row of trees with the creek right behind and below. We thought that was the perfect location because of the proximity to water and the protection from afternoon sun. It looks like we have skunks following the creek who have come up to investigate the boxes. I'll need to set them up higher, i guess. A month ago, stores had half size whiskey barrels cheap, but i doubt I'll find any now.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Aug 16, 2012 12:01 PM CST
Cindi perhpahs this will help you with the skunks

Skunks
Scratch at the hive entrance to lure bees out so they can grab them and eat them. Guard bees who fly out and sting them do little good because skunks are almost completely immune to their stings.
Best defense is to place your hive on a hive stand 2' to 3' off the ground.
Name: Sandy Coffman
Jacksonville, Florida
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida Dog Lover
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wren
Aug 16, 2012 12:42 PM CST
Here is another site y'all might be interested in. I have meet the young man who started this research.

http://www.ufnativebuzz.com/index.html

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