Bee good

Bees need flowers and we need bees!  Here is a guest blog from Maureen Little who knows all about bees and the flowers that are good for them.  You can order flower seeds such as herbs or wild flowers that bees will love on her website too.  Even if you just have space for a windowbox or a pot you can grow beneficial plants.

First of all a big thank you to Andrea for asking me to provide a blog entry. It’s not always easy to find a topic to focus in on simply because there are so many – but this week’s news about neonicotinoid pesticides and the possible effect they have on bees is the obvious one to choose.

As we all know, our bee populations have been weakening over the years and now there is strong, if not irrefutable, indications that the use of neonicotinoids has had a part to play in the bees’ decline. Apparently the bees ingest the systemic pesticides which are present in both the pollen and nectar of treated flowers and this affects their internal ‘sat nav’. This is obviously a simplified account but suffice it to say that pesticides plus bees equals disaster. Which is why, as a beekeeper and gardener, I would urge everyone NOT to use anything ending with ‘cide’ on their plants. (from the Latin caedere – to kill). The fact is, there is no need to. You don’t need to look very far for some compelling evidence – Andrea’s beautiful flowers have been grown organically, without the use of anything nasty, and if she can do it on a commercial scale then we can all do it in our own gardens!

I shall come down off my soapbox now! Enjoy the spring and all the bounty that it affords, and if you are looking to add some plants to your garden, why not make them bee-friendly ones? Contrary to common belief you don’t necessarily have to use wild flowers – there are loads of garden flowers that we humans love to look at and which are perfect for bees and other pollinating insects too. (Have a look at my books, The Bee Garden and Plants and Planting Plans for a Bee Garden, if you are short on ideas.)

Happy Easter everyone – and enjoy your garden!

Maureen Little

31 March 2012

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