We’ve had a few questions (yes, hi Mum!) about whether we plan to keep bees, and since September was bee awareness month, we’ve thought about how to make sure our garden attracts and looks after the bees we need.
Firstly, let’s remind ourselves how important bees are: 70 of the top 100 human food crops rely on pollination. There’s a very good chance that our favourite fruits and vegetables either wouldn’t exist – or at least would be a lot rarer – without our busy, buzzy pals.
So are we planning a hive or two for our own backyard? No. At least, not yet.
Bee hives can be fairly high maintenance – a challenge we’re just not ready for at the moment, when we’re still digging in our garden and deciding how everything might work.
Then there’s the poop. Bees poo along the flight lines between food sources and their hive. Bee poop is infamously hard to remove from things like vehicles and clothes – so having a large number of bees around can actually cause problems in suburban neighbourhoods. At this point, we don’t want to risk upsetting our neighbours with poo, when they’ve been great at accepting all the changes we’ve made so far.
Will we have bees in the longer term? Potentially – but first we’re trying to make sure we provide an attractive environment for the bees which already live nearby.
A while ago the fairly wild section above us was cleared, and I’ve wondered whether the loss of that habitat has reduced our locally resident bee population. I guess only time will tell.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a few spots for bee-friendly flowers picked out in both our front and back yards, and have a range of wildflower and other seeds to go in the ground when the weather permits us to go outside.
We’ve also taken another step towards setting up our herb garden, getting macrocarpa garden edging that we can easily assemble and fill to build a raised bed. Hopefully this week we can get the garden mostly finished, introducing some fresh-smelling plants to attract more bees.
Thanks to the prolifically flowering young trees we planted in winter, I think we’re already seeing some bee action. We just have to continue working on the environment to keep them busy.
I’ve been looking at these useful websites for bee-related info: