Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bee Enduring

Late Dandelion Blooms
September Wild Bee #1
September Wild Bee #2
Great Buckets of Pollen
September Wild Bee #3
Mutual Dandelion Affection
September Collection
Butterflies Appreciate the Blooms, Too
More people are aware of the plight of bees these days, but many are unwilling to consider co-habitation. What if saving the bees means living with them?

Bees increase with late summer. The same people who cheered them on in spring are now asking how to get rid of them. Sadly, this is one reason why we don't have bees. We fear them in proximity.

Mind you, I'm not addressing anyone who has to carry an epi-pen or who might have a colony of killer bees in their shed. This is meant to encourage those of you who care enough for the plight of bees to endure living in harmony.

Honey bees used in agriculture and apiaries. They are not the same as wild bees. Both are pollinators and both are required for us to eat many of our favorite fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables. Honey bees are used commercially to pollinate crops. Wild bees pollinate our gardens along with butterflies and birds.

I'm no expert. I'm a backyard student, learning about birds and bees, gardens and trees. For experts, please visit your nearest grand land university extension office.

For ideas on how to bee enduring (live harmoniously among the bees), learn to love dandelions.

Spring bees emerge hungry. Dandelions are among the first blooms to offer pollinators food. This is true of fall, too. Now that the temperatures are dipping at night, I've seen the yellow dandelions of spring return to my lawn. Thus, it is a late summer food.

Honey bees have one purpose in winter -- to keep the queen warm. This might sound familiar to my husband who complains that his sole purpose in winter is to keep me warm! Firewood, extra blankets, fuzzy slippers -- yes, I demand these things of him as if I were a queen bee. So I understand the need.

Wild bees hibernate, often in dirt holes or hollow stems. They will feed as long as there are flowers. See how important those dandelions are right now? I'm also letting the hairy vetch spread in my garden and some is even blooming. I discovered this summer how much the bees enjoy hairy vetch flowers, and it's good for my soil to overwinter with a cover of nitrogen-giving hairy vetch.

Bees need food and shelter, and yes, that means they are underfoot. My rule of cohabitation is the same rule for the barn swallows -- do not nest on my porch, around windows or over doors. I keep an eye out for nests or hives and I prevent the building of them while allowing wild space for development (untended yard borders, pastures, outside the garden fence).

I pay attention to where the bees live. One squash plant grew close to a hive beneath my fence so I harvested across the plant without any trouble. I mow with my blades set high so I do not disturb bees that live in the lawn. Get over it. They do and they aren't going to attack you under normal circumstances. If you have abnormal circumstances contact a professional bee remover and do not use chemicals.

Let the dandelions lives. Live with bees; they are fascinating to watch, helpful food partners and I have not found them to be any more aggressive than butterflies. I sit on the lawn and take pictures. They endure me as much as I endure them.

Take time to learn about bees in your area and let go of having a perfect, bee-less yard. If everyone had a bee-less yard, then we'd have no bees. Be willing to create and share space with bees.

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. Extra words, dandelions & photos by Charli Mills.


  1. Very interesting post, and I love the photos. My son and I have been learning about bees, and I think understanding them is key to not fearing them. They are so important. I have no problems with dandelions, either. I actually like the color they bring to the yard. :)

    1. That's a wonderful way to lesson fear and embrace learning! Observation can be so much fun. I never realized how many different kinds of bees there are until I started to watch. I'm glad you like dandelions, too! They are so important to the bees.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly! I'm looking forward to more bees and butterflies in my garden as the plants mature and flower. The ladybirds shared the wattle tree with the bees for a short while, but the flowers didn't last for long. I agree with you about wanting them to stay away from doors and windows, and don't even think about coming inside, but out in the garden is wonderful. We have planted native, bee and butterfly, attracting plants. Ladybirds were an unexpected bonus.

    1. I once interviewed an organic cranberry grower and he told me how the land revived after he stopped using chemicals in his cranberry bogs. Each year something new would emerge until the ecosystem was fully functional. Yes, we do get extra bonuses! Enjoy all that emerges in your yard this spring, down under!

  3. I totally agree with you, Charli.
    With these mobile towers erected every few feet to give customers the best of connection is also rumored to kill these pollinators.

    We need them not just for our yards, but their honey has lately been proved to help pollen allergies...achoo!

    Always a pleasure to have you on board, Charli

    1. I knew that there were concerns about mobile towers, but hadn't heard the bee connection. Thanks for sharing that! Definitely--local honey is best for allergies. I also use it to make elderberry syrup as a flu tonic in winter. Thanks, Ruchira!