Fending off Solicitors (and saving humanity) with Bees

Our flowering lamb’s ear got a bit unruly this summer, as it always does, and unless you are real appreciator or bees, you probably would not choose not to venture up the pathway towards our front door.  I’m fairly certain that anyone selling me things I don’t need would opt out of this risk, but I like to think that do-gooder activists would venture up the pathway anyways, with faith that their good karma will shield them from harm.

Pollinators are good for more than fending off unwanted solicitors, though.  Most people know that bees play an important role in pollinating  flowering plants, but you might not know that bees either focus on gathering nectar or on gathering pollen depending on demand.  Bees gather nectar primarily as an energy source, and pollen, primarily for protein  and other nutrients. Most bees are fuzzy and carry an electrostatic charge, which aids in the adherence of pollen.

Bee Collapse
In 2007, managed populations of European honey bees experienced substantial declines, which prompted investigations. In 2009 some reports from the US suggested that one third of the honey bee colonies did not survive the winter.  This is of great concern because it is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee.  One root of the problem is believed to be “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Pesticides used to treat seeds are believed to be negatively impacting honey bee populations.

Whatever the root cause of the decline of bees, creating habitats for bees can help maintain their numbers.  Flowers such as borage (pictured below) can provide them with pollen and us with beautiful edible flowers to spice up any salad.  Choosing native plants will help create habitat for native bees and staging successive blooms throughout the year (by making sure that something in your garden is blooming at any given time) will ensure them a place to hang out year-round.  If you slack on trimming your flower borders, that might also mean less time managing unwanted solicitors.

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