From the UC Blogosphere...
When the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, hosted an open house showcasing specimens collected last summer in Belize,...
So here's this gravid praying mantis perched on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia) in a Vacaville pollinator garden. She's in a...
It's rare to see a tagged monarch, either when it's migrating to its overwintering site or when it's clustered high in a...
He may have been “born" in an Ashland, Ore., vineyard. But at least we know he hails from Ashland. That's what we...
Attract Bees to Your Garden
By Jackie Woods UCCE Master Gardener
The honey bee population has been in decline world-wide for several years, a result of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). While scientists search for answers, gardeners and bee enthusiasts can help our pollinator friends by providing them a safe haven in the form of a bee friendly garden. Planting bee friendly plants, providing a water source and avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides are just a few small ways to make a big difference in saving the lives of bees.
Bees are incredible, magnificent creatures. Do you like to eat? Thank a bee! Bees are responsible for pollinating much of the food we eat but they need our help. What do bees need? Flowers! Here are a few of their favorites:
Annuals – clover, marigolds, poppies, snapdragons, sunflowers, zinnias
Perennials – cosmos, dahlias, Echinacea, geranium, mint, roses
Shrubs – blueberry, butterfly bush, honeysuckle, lavender, rosemary, thyme
Trees – alder, eastern redbud, fruit trees, magnolia, maples, poplars
Many insects get water from their food. Bees, however, need to drink water; they like it clean and fresh. If they can't find it close to their hive, they'll seek it out elsewhere. It's easy to create a water source for bees: place small stones in shallow bird baths or containers for the bees to perch on while they drink. If you build it, they will come!
Herbicides and pesticides can be toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. Insecticides can kill bees by either direct or indirect contact. If possible, avoid using harmful substances in a bee friendly garden and instead encourage natural insect control by incorporating plants that attract birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects like ladybugs and syrphid flies.
Without bees and other insects, pollination of crops does not occur. No crops, no food. So, let's all pitch in and help our pollinator friends by planting bee friendly flowers, provide a modest water source, and forgo using pesticides in the garden.
Interested in building a bee house for your garden? A workshop will be held Tuesday, October 4, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. The first half of the workshop will be a presentation about native and Mason Bees. The second half will be building your own insect or bee house. Insect house kits are available for $10.00 or bee house inserts for $2.00 (if you would like place an insert in your own item at home).