Friday, May 24, 2013

so...about those bees.

Pollinating Clementine's in my backyard.

A few weeks ago I was at a luncheon that was held at one of our local historical homes here in town. It's a beautiful home and the grounds are lovely and well maintained. The landscape designer was there, as well as a Master Gardener from the local gardening club. I decided to ask him about beekeeping...backyard beekeeping in particular. His response? "Oh you can't keep bees in your backyard, there wouldn't be enough food to sustain them."

I have to admit, I was bummed. Ever since I began researching and learning more about natural foods and self sustainability, the idea of keeping bees has intrigued me. Kind of like when I began researching backyard chickens...I read and read and read and then one day, we got some chicks, built a coop, and the rest is history.

At that same time I read a few books about beekeeping and one in particular really made an impact on me...Honeybee, Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper. It's not only entertaining but also very informative. Among other things, she talked about all of the things that bees produce...honey, of course, propolis, pollen, beeswax...and how all of it is beneficial. All of it. Amazing.

It made such an impression on me and since then my love and respect for bees has continued to grow.

But...back to the "you can't keep bees in your backyard" statement. First of all, I don't want to do anything that would put the bees lives in danger. So if this is true, and they wouldn't be able to survive, I would never do it. And I would move forward with Plan B: continue to plant things that bees love to attract them to our yard. But I'm not sure it's totally out of the question to keep bees in a suburban backyard.

So to be completely sure I went to the library (of course) and got a few books on backyard beekeeping. I'm going to read them and see what they say...because maybe the Master Gardener isn't a master on bees and maybe he didn't really know what he was talking about. I'm just saying maybe.

OH...and...Chris and I were talking to our neighbor (over the back fence) a few weeks ago and he mentioned that his wife is researching, yep, you guessed it, beekeeping. So who knows...maybe we can do it together. You never know.

In the meantime, I will continue to research. And if I find that it truly isn't a good idea to keep bees in a small suburban yard, then I won't. I will also continue to plant more plants that attract bees, and all pollinators. Like lavender for instance...we planted lavender last summer and it's growing like crazy this year. And attracting bees like crazy, too! They love it. And I love them. It makes me so happy to see them buzzing around the yard.


teekaroo said...

I'm intrigued by bees also, but still too into other projects to give it much serious thought. I was under the impression that bees do fine in backyards, since they don't have to stay in the yard to find food, but I suppose it would depend on what the surrounding area is like.

rhondajo said...

We need bees! Last summer I grew summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers, and they flowered all summer, but all I got were two cucumbers. My pear trees have not born any fruit for two years. I chalk it up to no bees. Years ago we used to have bumblebees everywhere, tunneling in our eaves, but I haven't seen any of them either. I would love to have a bee hive in my back yard (I have .9 acre). Please keep us updated on every detail, this is a big deal! Thanks!

You Can Call Me Jane said...

Keep researching suburban beekeeping and planting those flowers. Deciding to keep bees should be a process- jumping into it without proper preparation can bring harm. Enjoy the process. When/if you decide to keep bees, you'll know when you're ready:-). You're such a sweet and gentle soul- bees will love you:-).

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

Great advice Jane...thank you!

Rhondajo...maybe you could plant some lavender plants. Last year we didn't have a lot of bees, nor did we have a lot of produce from the garden. So we planted some lavender and this year the bees are visiting like crazy!

teekaroo...I was under the same impression...that bees travel for food. And they for that reason I will continue my research. And of course, in the end, will do what's best for the bees.