Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
August, 2000
Regional Report

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Honeybee boxes provide homes for our sweet friends.

The Joy of Honeybees

I love this time of year! It's too hot to do much outdoors, so I can just sit and enjoy the garden, no guilt attached, reaping the rewards of my early spring labors. The perennials have come into their glory, and the bees are having a field day.

Beneficial Bees

Honeybees are the most beneficial insects imaginable, pollinating flowers from spring through summer. Without bees everyone would be eating mostly rice, wheat, and corn instead of the wonderful variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts we grow in our gardens. Honeybees are gentle and truly remarkable garden companions.

Bee Needs

Honeybees' only requirements are food, water, and shelter. I make sure there's an endless supply of food for them in the form of pollen and nectar by planting a variety of flowers throughout the landscape. That way there's always something in bloom. Water can be made available from several sources: birdbaths, a dripping faucet, or a pie pan with a square of window screen over the top. They all allow safe landings so the bees can sip to their heart's content. You can raise bees in "boxes" or just let the wild ones find your garden.

Sweet Rewards

Bees ensure that everything from apples to zucchini is perfectly pollinated - no oddball, malformed fruits for us! Plus, bees produce honey - a winning combination for garden and gardener.

I've never tagged along, but I know the bees from my yard visit neighboring gardens, performing their magic there, as well. I don't mind if they forage afar because they always come home before dark, which is more than I can say for some of my offspring!

Don't Spray Those Bees

To avoid harming the bees, I'm careful with pesticides. If I have to use them, I spray when the bees are least active, which is late in the evening. I avoid spraying while the vegetables or fruits are in flower, watch out for drift onto other plants, and never use dust-type pesticides, which are more hazardous than sprays.

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