Archive for the 'Honeybees' Category


A Hive of Homicides or Hive Demise

Author: Meera, June 21, 2017

The title of the third novel in my Henny Penny Farmette series suggests loss of bees and murderous intent. No beekeeper wants to lose a hive, regardless of how it happens–whether some invader wants to kill the bees, go after the honey, or use the hive as a host for proliferation of its own species.

 

 

 

A healthy hive box with lid removed

A healthy hive box with lid removed

 

I’m not one-hundred percent positive why I lost a hive this year. My best guess was that the demise was due (not to homicide but rather) to a tiny little pest, possibly a beetle that weakened it so that the bees and queen fled leading to the hive’s demise.

 

 

My beekeeper neighbor and I spotted a small beetle and treated for it. My best efforts to keep my small bee house and the area around it clean as well as doing frequent hive inspections wasn’t enough. Now, I’m considering moving my remaining hive onto a higher, drier, sunnier location.

 

 

Bee garden in June bloom

Bee garden in June bloom

 

 

I’ll do it at night which is the correct time to move bees. You just put a little strip of packing foam along the hive entrance, gently move the hive, and place it in the new location. Remove the foam strip so the bees can leave at dawn and make sure there’s a water source nearby.

 

 

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

 

 

The bees will likely accept the move if there is water and food in the area. I like planting perennial bee gardens and flowers and bulbs with high nectar value for bloom throughout the year.

 

 

Since hives can be compromised by wax moths, hive beetles, and other pests (as well as parasites and diseases), frequent inspections to decipher a problem and treat it before it destroys your hive is imperative.

 

With supers (smaller hive boxes with ten frames each) on the hive in June, the bees will forage on abundant flowers and produce honey that can be taken off in July. That’s also the time to inspect for mites because these populations tend to swell during summer.

 

 

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If you’re interested in beekeeping and other farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries. All are available to order online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailer sites as well as traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

This third novel in the series will be released Sept. 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plant for the Pollinators

Author: Meera, June 20, 2017

I seldom need an occasion to put in another bed of flowers, but this is National Pollinator Week. I think a new bed is in order to attract local bees, birds, bats, and butterflies–all considered pollinators. Having these small creatures around benefits landscapes, gardens, and orchards.

 

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has noted that over 75 percent of our plants are pollinated by birds, animals, and insects. We can help ensure these creatures will be around for a long time if we restore their habitats and ensure they have food and water.

 

 

 

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

 

 

 

There are many lovely plants you can grow that don’t require a lot of care.

 

 

 

  • lavender
  • bee balm
  • echinacea
  • sage
  • cilantro
  • thyme
  • sunflowers
  • sweet alyssum
  • anemone
  • borage
  • geraniums
  • scented pelargoniums
  • mint

 

The florets are falling off and the seeds have formed on this giant sunflower head

Sunflowers are a favorite of bees and the seeds are loved by squirrels and birds

 

 

 

 

A tapestry of colorful herbs and flowers beautifies your landscape and pollinators love the diversity. If you don’t have a lot of space, grow some of these plants in planter boxes, clay pots, or other types of containers.

 

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

 

 

 

Put in a water feature, too, such as a table-top or larger fountain that recycles water. Even a pottery saucer filled each day can attract pollinators.

 

 

It won’t take long for the bees and hummingbirds to find the water. Their frequent visits are fun to watch, and they’ll likely be sipping throughout the day.

 

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If you enjoy reading about farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing. My newest novel includes delicious recipes, tips on keeping bees and chickens, and much more. Click on this URL for more information, http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

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Coming Sept. 2017

Coming Sept. 2017

 

 

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Cold Weather Means Protecting Citrus, Covering Hives

Author: Meera, November 18, 2016

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week and already, the first snows have arrived in the Sierras and Rockies.

 

The fountain water has frozen overnight and awaits to sun to melt

The water in our Italian fountain froze overnight and now the birds and bees that drink there must wait for the sun to melt the ice.

 

The plunge of nighttime temperatures here on the Henny Penny Farmette are hovering at frost and freezing levels. This morning, I walked with a steaming cup of coffee and noticed the thermometer hovering at 39 degrees Fahrenheit. That means our citrus trees and other frost-intolerant plants must be protected or moved indoors.

 

The work I’ve been bearing down on–a new book, mystery promo, and prep for Thanksgiving–now have to be put aside for a few hours. I’ve got plenty of cold-weather work to do outside.

 

Satsuma  mandarin orange tree prolifically bears fruit but is susceptible to freeze

Our Satsuma mandarin orange tree prolifically bears fruit this time of year but is susceptible to freeze

 

 

Citrus trees will be covered with blankets against the frost. I’m hanging the heat lamp in my chicken house. I need to clean the chicken house,  put more straw in the nesting boxes, and a ground corncob material on the floor. Already, I’ve put the windows back in (leaving a crack open for ventilation).

 

 

My Buff Orpington hen likes a cozy nesting box stuffed with straw

My Buff Orpington hen likes a cozy nesting box stuffed with straw

 

 

 

I opened the beehives last weekend and added an extension onto one hive–something not normally done during autumn when you typically shrink the size of your hives. The hive seemed overpopulated and the bees seemed stressed. After closing that hive, I wrapped both of them with blankets.

 

Hive frames with lots of bees

Hive frames with lots of bees

 

 

With the the citrus protected, the heat lamp in the chicken house, and the beehives covered, I can return to my indoor work . . . it never stops but my passion has always been to live close to the earth and write. This is the good life, made better by this wonderful Mediterranean-like climate that enable  our citrus and  grapes to thrive (although plunging temps make for a little extra work protecting them).

 

*           *          *

 

Enjoy reading about farming topics? Check out my cozy mysteries–A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE  (both in the Henny Penny Farmette series from Kensington Publishing).

 

These novels are chocked full of recipes, farming tips, chicken and beekeeping tips, sayings and, of course, a charming cozy mystery. For more info, click on the links under the pictures.

 

The books are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

 

This debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run. It’s now available in mass market paperback and other formats.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

 

NEWLY RELEASED! This, the second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, is garnering great reviews from readers and industry publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First the Harvest, then the Floor

Author: Meera, October 24, 2016

My kitchen floor was littered with bits of wax and bee glue yesterday. It took me over an hour on my knees to scrub and clean it after I had uncapped thirty frames of honey I’d taken from my hives.

 

bucket of honey with strainer supporting all the wax spun off during extraction

A bucket of honey with strainer supporting wax spun off during honey extraction

 

 

 

 

In the process of scraping each frame and then unsealing all the capped cells on the front and back of each frame, drops of wax and propolis, or bee glue (created by the bees from bee saliva, wax, and exudate from botanical sources) fell to the floor. I tracked it from the counter, sink, and extractor on the soles of my shoes.

 

 

Even before I put my honey buckets under the extractor spigot, I tape fine mesh strainers over the buckets to catch wax and other debris.

 

 

Springtime honey appears golden whereas autumn honey is often darker (depending on what's flowering)

Three frames containing honey, but the sweet stuff is locked inside a honeycomb of cells sealed with wax by the bees

 

 

 

 

Once all the frames are processed and the buckets are sealed, I put the wax I’ve removed from the frames into a mesh bag to drain the honey (usually a much smaller quantity of honey is recovered from this process).

 

 

When the honey has been removed from the mesh bag, I place that wax on a cookie sheet and set it in the garden for the bees to clean.  After the bees have cleaned all the wax (by eating any drops of honey left), I save the wax to melt into bars for candles or soap-making.

 

 

I drain two frames at a time in a five-gallon bucket

A frame with wax cap cells opened and ready to put into the extractor

 

Back in in the kitchen, the extractor, it must be washed inside and out. Once cleaned and moved to the patio, I must start removing the wax and propolis from the floor. For that, I use an old thin, metal spatula to scrape the tile free of wax.

 

 

A soap and water scrub follows. Then I rinse and dry the floor with rags before moving the honey extractor back into the kitchen.

 

 

 

Honey from a bottling bucket is drained into sterile jars

Honey from a bottling bucket is drained into sterile jars

 

 

I won’t take honey again until next year. But now the honey must be bottled–that means I must sterilize bottles and prepare labels. Keeping honeybees is really only this labor intensive during and after the honey harvest. But the harvest is well worth all the work.

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 *          *          *

Enjoy reading about farming topics? Check out my cozy mysteries–A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE  (both in the Henny Penny Farmette series from Kensington Publishing).

 

These novels are chocked full of recipes, farming tips, chicken and beekeeping tips, sayings and, of course, a charming cozy mystery. For more info, click on the links under the pictures.

 

The books are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

 

This debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run. It’s now available in mass market paperback and other formats.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

 

NEWLY RELEASED! This, the second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, is garnering great reviews from readers and industry publications.

 

 

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Harvesting Honey–A Labor of Love

Author: Meera, October 16, 2016

Sitting in the middle of my kitchen is a three-story hive box with thirty frames of honey that needs to be extracted, filtered, and poured into jars.

 

My apiary is small–just two hives. Taking the honey is quite a labor-intensive activity. But it brings its own kind of joy. As pollinator populations decrease, keeping bees is a small thing I can do for all of us . . .  for our planet.

 

 

This electric honey extractor holds four frames; honey is spun out through centrifugal force

This electric honey extractor holds four frames; honey is spun out through centrifugal force and drains through the spigot

 

 

The stainless steel honey extractor, washed and scrubbed, has been pushed over by the oven to make a little space in my already-small kitchen.

 

Today, I washed the countertops, my stove, and even the sink with hot soapy water and bleach. Then after a thorough wipe-down, I stretched sheets of aluminum foil over the countertop. The extraction process started with four frames.

 

It’s a simple process. I set the four frames of honey on the foil-covered counter. Using a hot knife, I open the capped cells on both sides of the frames and put them in the honey extractor. Beneath the machine’s spigot, I’ve already positioned a five-gallon bucket with strainer attached. I start the machine on a slow speed and open the spigot.

 

Each of the five gallon and two-gallon buckets were previously washed and covered with strainers. These are held in place with heavy duty duct tape wrapped around the mouths. Switching out a full bucket for an empty one is easy when the buckets are prepped for use before the extraction starts.

 

Springtime honey appears golden whereas autumn honey is often darker (depending on what's flowering)

Springtime honey appears golden in the frames whereas autumn honey is often darker (depending on what’s flowering, but often star thistle and eucalyptus, in my area)

 

 

I expect a yield of  about thirty-five gallons this time. I lost one hive . . . more on that later, but, in all, it looks to be a good honey harvest for our family and friends.

 

As soon as I extract all the honey, I’ll start bottling it and affixing labels. It’s a process that will take several days to complete.

 

The frame I'm holding contains a queen house, honey, and brood

The frame I’m holding contains a queen house and baby bee food

 

 

Tasting, smelling, and seeing all this golden, delicious honey that the bees created warms my heart. When we take care of them, they take care of us. And we always leave plenty of honey in the hives for the bees to eat throughout the winter.

 

*          *          *

 

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my Henny Penny Farmette cozy mysteries series from Kensington Publishing.

 

These novels are chocked full of recipes, farming tips, and sayings as well as a charming cozy mystery.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

 

This debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run. It’s now available in mass market paperback and other formats.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

 

JUST RELEASED! This, the second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, is garnering great reviews from readers and industry publications.

 

My books are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Murder of a Queen Bee–Reviews

Author: Meera, August 29, 2016

I love it when the reviews start rolling in for one of my novels . . . in this case, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE. Here’s a highlight of the Booklist review to be published in that magazine’s September 1, 2016 issue:

 

“Framed with details of beekeeping, herb growing, and living and working on a small farm in California, this charming cozy also includes well-drawn, engaging
characters and a promising new romance for Abby.”–Sue O’Brien

 

 

The first two novels in the Henny Penny Farmette series from Kensington Publishing.

The first two novels in the Henny Penny Farmette series from Kensington Publishing.

 

 

For more than a century, Booklist magazine has been and continues to be the go-to resource for American librarians (see, http://www.ala.org/offices/publishing/booklist/).

 

As libraries develop and evolve their collections of all types of library materials for virtually every genre and age group, they depend on reviews that Booklist provides. As an author, I appreciate having positive reviews from respected publications such as Booklist and Kirkus as well as other media in their respective platforms. As a cozy author, I also appreciate the exposure my novels get on blogging sites and other social media platforms.

 

*           *           *

Publisher’s Weekly, a major industry magazine that reviews books had this to say in its August 29, 2016 issue regarding THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE by Meera Lester (Kensington HC/October 2016/978-1-61773-913-2)

“Lester ticks all the boxes…This one is for lovers of cozy mysteries that are heavy on the cozy.” – Publishers Weekly

 

 

I’m also thrilled that Kirkus Review (see, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/), a valuable industry-firsts reviewing resource since 1933, has offered a review of my forthcoming novel, THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE that includes an excellent plot summary and this take-away quote about my protagonist ex-cop Abigail Mackenzie:

 

“Abby naturally finds it hard to concentrate on murder while she’s trying to decide what to do about Clay and her newfound attraction to Jack.  The second from Lester (A Beeline To Murder, 2016) is long on romance, sweet tips, and honey recipes. . . . [and] mystery, too.”

 

The Murder of a Queen Bee, byLester, Meera
312 p. Kensington, hardcover,  $25. (9781617739132)
E-book,  $11.99. (9781617739149).

 

 

These novels are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

Now available in mass market paperback, this debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

The second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 27, 2016, is now available on Net Galley (netgalley.com) for professionals and readers who write reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Good Day to Strain, Drain, and Bottle Honey

Author: Meera, August 2, 2015

It’s Sunday. I’m bottling the honey that I pulled from the hives last week. Yesterday, I washed two dozen eight-ounce jars in the dishwasher and allowed them to dry upside down on paper towels. Today, I’ll put on my apron and listen to some energetic big band tunes while I drain that honey into jars.

 

 

 

Honey bucket with strainer taped on and bits of wax in the honey on top

The fine mesh strainer taped tightly around the bucket rim traps the bits of wax but does not impede the flow of honey

 

 

 

My buckets of honey still have duct tape around their rims holding the strainers in position.  When the honey was spun in the extracting machine, it had to be drained through a filter. Painter’s filters work great as the mesh cloth is very fine and fits over the top of the bucket.

 

 

 

Bits of wax, pollen, and even baby bee food are strained from the honey before it's bottled

Bits of honeycomb, pollen, and even baby bee food are strained from the honey before it’s bottled

 

 

 

The filter is placed into position around the rim and then duct taped is wrapped around tightly two times. Honey is quite heavy and can pull down the filter if not secured. I’m straining the honey that goes into jars. However, I did save back a jar of unfiltered honey with all those bits in it for a family member who prefers it that way.

 

 

 

The work was easier and went faster than I’d expected. It helps to have everything you need close at hand, clean, and ready to go.

 

 

 

Filling from the bucket spigot goes fast because the honey flows quickly; it's quite heavy

Filling from the bucket spigot goes fast because the honey flows quickly; it’s quite heavy

 

 

 

Of the three large buckets, the first had a nice spigot than I could turn off after I allowed honey to flow and fill the jar. Then I closed the spigot, wiped the jar with a damp paper towel, and then screwed the lid in place.

 

 

 

 

This five-gallon honey bucket will fill approximately five dozen eight-ounce jars

This five-gallon honey bucket will fill approximately five dozen eight-ounce jars; pictured here are 24 jars

 

 

 

The two dozen eight-ounce jars barely made a dent in my first honey bucket although my neighbor tells me that I can easily fill five dozen of the eight-ounce jars from one five-gallon bucket; or, I can fill two and one-half dozen of the sixteen-ounce jars.

 

 

 

Finished jars reveal clear, light amber honey the bees made from springtime flowers

Filled jars reveal clear, light amber honey the bees made from the French perfume lavender on my farmette and our springtime flowers, but these jars still labels

 

 

 

The next step in the process is to affix my Henny Penny label onto the jar. I plan to give some of these jars away during promotions in early October for my forthcoming novel, A BEELINE TO MURDER, the first in the Henny Penny Farmette series of cozies.

 

 

The first in the Henny Farmette series of cozy mysteries (Kensington Publishing Sept. 29, 2015)

Published next month by Kensington, my book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through most booksellers and online bookstores

 

If you are interested in this honey, please feel free to email me at meeralester1@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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Neonicotinoids, commonly referred to as neonics, are a new class of pesticides that are closely related to nicotine. As the U.S. government debates the use of these controversial chemicals and studies go on, the European Union has voted to ban bee-harming pesticides. See, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe.

 

Search for the tubular circles and you've found the queen houses

The tubular structures are bee queen houses

 

 

There’s no question that the bee population has been in decline in the last decade. Many beekeepers and experts alike have been vocal in their suspicions that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides is a likely culprit. The journal Nature published a study that revealed significant negative effects on the wild bumble bee foraging on plants sprayed with the new class of pesticides.

 

 

Pollinators of all types are important to our food crops, but especially the bumble bees and honeybees. The latter are trucked around to farms and orchards (particularly the almond orchards) in early spring to pollinate the blossoms.

 

 

Exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides resulted in wild bees doing less reproducing, having smaller colonies, and having colonies that didn’t grow as compared to wild bees not exposed to the neonics.

 

 

Healthy bees on a frame

Healthy bees on  frames (on their side)

 

 

One of the studies was the result of research done in the wild, using 16 patches of land divided into two parcels of eight patches each. One area used canola seeds coated with the pesticide containing neonics. The seeds were not coated in the other area.

 

 

Scientists then compared the bees exposed to the pesticide with bees not exposed. The treated side had half as many bees per square meter as the untreated side. The bees in the pesticide patches also had negligible weight gain, but the bees in the untreated area gained roughly one pound.

 

 

Neonicotinoids are now the world’s most widely used pesticides. Isn’t it time farmers of the world found other options and chemical companies put less money into lobbying for these bee-dangerous chemicals and instead searched for good alternatives to help farmers deal with pests in their fields and orchards?

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I opened my hives this past Sunday with the help of my world-class beekeeper neighbor. We checked on the the condition of eggs, the number of new queens, the growth of baby bees, the presence of mites (none detected), and the amount of honey (lots).

 

 

The male bees (the drones) over the last weeks have been engaged in some crazy flight patterns in front of the hive as the mating of the queen takes place. The old queen has done her egg laying and the hives have lots of babies with nurse maids and other worker bees. From the hives comes the clearly audible sound of humming and the fragrant scent of honey.

 

 

The drone (male bees) are vital for mating with the queen; after that, they are unnecessary and are elminated

The drone (male bees) are vital for mating with the queen; after that, they are unnecessary and are eliminated

 

 

The drones are not now needed and the workers in the colony are doing away with them. I found a stack of drones at the front door of the hive this morning. Strange sight to see, indeed. But no more so than the many queen houses (formed from honeycomb by the worker bees). These houses are where the new queens are nourished; each contains royal jelly.

 

 

Search for the tubular circles and you've found the queen houses

The tubular circles are the houses where the baby queens will be cared for by the workers. The houses contain royal jelly for the feeding of the new queens

 

 

My neighbor told me to wait three more weeks to take honey, but since I didn’t take any honey during the fall/winter and there were huge stores of it in my hives and coupled with the fact that there’s a plethora of flowers now to provide pollen for the bees, we decided it would be okay to remove some frames. So, I took six frames (weighing roughly ten pounds each) from the hives.

 

 

The honey I harvested has a pale lemony color–significant for the wildflowers and almond and fruit tree blossoms from which the bees collected the pollen to make that honey. In the fall, the honey is darker and earthier tasting, thanks to pollen from the star thistle and eucalyptus blooms.

 

 

When we had finished with my hives and walked back to my neighbor’s house, we spotted a swarm overhead. We grabbed the pots and wooden spoons and started banging. The bees took refuge in the tall pepper tree and that’s where my neighbor rescued them. In all, it was quite a spectacular Sunday!

 

 

 

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Mid-March to early April on the farmette brings the celebration of birthdays and the promise of new selections of flowers for our spring gardens. This year, our new plants are old varieties.

 

 

A fellow-gardener friend gave me a selection of antique flowers for pollinators that included Bee Balm, Sweet Alyssum, Prickly Poppy, Sunflowers, and Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate. These will go in various flower beds around our property.

 

 

Honeybees make a nice sundown snack for marauding skunks and raccoons

Honeybees at work on a frame of wax

 

 

Pollinators include many species of bees. We want them in our gardens to pollinate our fruits, vegetables, berries, and nut crops. Planting open-pollinated flowers enable pollinators to forage for pollen and nectar (their sources of food). When we provide rich food sources for pollinators, our food crops will benefit.

 

At a time when bee populations are declining worldwide, gardeners everywhere can help the besieged bees by planting diverse, open-pollinated varieties of pollen- and nectar-rich flowers. The following flower selection are considered old garden mainstays.

 

Bee Balm–”Bergamo”  Monarda hybrida

This perennial likes sun to light shade and soil that is moist, and well-drained. The plant will reach two feet tall and will bloom summer to fall. It attracts both hummingbirds and bees.

 

Sweet Alyssum–”Benthalmii” Lobularia maritima

Alyssum is an annual that likes full sun but part shade in the hottest areas of hte garden. Soil preferences is rich, moist, and well-drained. It reaches a height of ten inches and small white blooms form summer to fall. It will flower repeatedly if it is clipped back after flowering.

 

Prickly Poppy–”Busy Bee” Argemone platyceras

A sun lover like all poppies, this one is an annual that loves poor, dry, gravelly soil. It will grow to three feet and bloom throughout the summer into fall. It does have prickly spines, so care must be taken to avoid contact with the spines.

 

 

Sunflowers come in a range of sizes

Sunflowers come in a range of sizes

 

 

Sunflowers–”Pan,” Helianthus debilis, subspecies: cucumerifolius

Another sun lover, this annual thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Plants will reach three feet in height and bloom summer through the fall. These sunflowers make excellent cut flowers.

 

Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate–”  Polylgonum orientale

This annual will go at the back of the garden since it reaches a height of six to seven feet. It likes well-drained, moist, rich soil that is located in full sun. The plants bloom summer throughout the fall and self-sows.

 

 

 

 

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