Honey Bees in the Garden: March: National Geographic article

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Honey Bees in the Garden:  March

By Mindy03
March 3, 2011

March is here with its abundance of sprouting bulbs, swelling buds, and early blossoms. The temperatures are warmer and gardeners are busy getting early crops and flowers planted. Honey bees are zipping to and fro from the hives, searching out the earliest blossoms for the collection of nectar and pollen.

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Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia (Zone 7a)
Question authority, guide in wisdom
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Lance
Mar 3, 2011 9:16 AM CST
National Geographic has an interesting article on pollinators this month, with of course a large part of it devoted to honey bees.
I have noticed the red maples (Acer rubrum) are blooming. Do the honey bees like these, as well?
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
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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
Mar 3, 2011 10:28 AM CST
Yes Maples are one of their plants. It's important mainly for brood rearing and to help them recover the the winter. As far as I can find out from the research I've done so far, all of the maples are good honey and pollen sources.

Thanks for the heads up on the National Geographic. Our bees are bringing in some yellow/brown pollen and lots of it so we are going to try to track them this afternoon to see where they are getting it from. We have lots of trees but as far as we can see nothing is blooming yet. So a walk through the woods and edges of the property is in order.

Someone has told my husband that the Extension office has a program to encourage people to become beekeepers. We are hoping to check into that tomorrow.
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia (Zone 7a)
Question authority, guide in wisdom
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Lance
Mar 3, 2011 10:53 AM CST
My son and I are going to try providing native bee houses this spring, using Arundinaria, a native bamboo type grass, as the tubes. It should be fun. I can't keep honeybees, as I am a bit sensitive to the sting, so I need to be careful. I have no problems walking through flowers and such, as they just fly away, but a hive I would think would present too much potential for a misstep on my part. The extension program does sound interesting, though. I am a Master Gardener, so I hope their bee program is equally beneficial.
A walk through the woods is always in order, now you have 2 reasons to do it. Let me know what you find.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Name: starlight1153
AL.
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starlight1153
Mar 4, 2011 6:36 AM CST
Great article. The bees are coming out here. They have been working the early bearing Blueberry bushes I have that are loaded right now. I'm like eat little bees. eat and grow up to pollinate for another day. Hilarious!

I am glad I have those bushes as this unexpected warm blast has brought them out early and there still alot of plants not ready. The bees are struggling right now.

Lance I am highly allergic to bee stings. If I want to work in an area where the bees are busy, I will use a smoke can for a little bit. It calms the bees down and I can tend the plants and than the bees and I both are happy. Smiling

Mindy... The Extension office will be a big help. They will provide you with alot of information and will even come out for free and help you get things set up and situate d and help you with any problems you might incur.

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
Mar 4, 2011 3:24 PM CST
Just home from a very long day. Didn't make it to the Extension office today due to an out of state trip with friends followed by an out of town trip for hubby's boss, followed by a visit to a good friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer recently. Lovely to visit with friends but I was really hoping to get to stop at the Extension office today. Oh well, Monday will be here soon enough and so far only the usual errands are on the list.

Except at certain times of the year, early spring and during fall, honey bees won't bother you if they are working the flowers. However, if you smell good they will check you out to see if you can provide them food. And any dark clothing makes them think you are one of their enemies such as bear or raccoon and they will go on defense then. As long as you don't have to move the plants around or shake them alot they will usually leave you in peace and happily work with you on the same plant. I've weeded right next to a plant with them working it and only had one buzz me without trying to sting me.

We are already set up in bees currently we have 5 hives and may only add 2 more this year. From what my husband was told this program will help you replace your bees if something happens to them. I'm also wanting to ask them if they can provide me with any material on plants for them while we are there. I still have alot of stuff to enter into the database when time permits.

Sharran
Mar 4, 2011 6:20 PM CST
Another great article, Margaret, thank you so much.
I'm learning as you go, even though I know a little about bees.
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
Mar 4, 2011 6:54 PM CST
Thanks Sharon. I'm still learning as I go. My husband now asks me if such and such plant is worked by our bees. We still haven't figured out where they are getting pollen from. As far as we can see there's nothing blooming in the tree section. Which makes me wonder if some kind of ground cover is blooming somewhere along the creek or in the woods. But at the same time, we are seeing lots of pollen on our vehicles. One possiblity is pine since he's ruled out the cedars.

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