The Honey Cottage Shares Pollination

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I want you to take a moment to think about soybeans, wheat, rice, and oats. These foods are wind pollinated food items that are pollinated by the help of the wind. Now take a moment to think about the other food you drink and eat. Teas, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are a daily part of our life and are pollinated by bees. This means more than 70% of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Animals also get the benefits of eating many of these plants and flowers. Bees are very important to how our world works and functions on a daily basis.

Some of the questions we hear a lot at The Honey Cottage are: Why are bees important? Are there only honeybees? How can we help Save the Bees?

Why are bees important?
Bees are vital to our ecosystem; bees pollinate almost all our food supply. Bees go from one flower to the next and collect nectar to make honey. The male part of the flower is the stamen and it produces the pollen. The pollen sticks onto the bee’s body hairs and are then transported to the next flower. Flowers need 10 granules of pollen to make pollination happen and produce seed or food. The granules of bee pollen stick to the stigma of the female flowers, which goes down the pistil, and into the ovule. This allows the seeds and fruits to be produced and consumed by humans and animals.

Are there only honeybees?
Honeybees are NOT the only bees we should be worried about. At The Honey Cottage we are constantly showing our customers that the honey bee is not the only bee on this planet. There are 20,000 different species of bees and they are ALL important. There are some bees that are better at pollinating our food supplies than honeybees. For example, bumble bees are able to do buzz pollination to shake the pollen out of tomato plants. Orchid bees generally only pollinate orchid plants. Leaf cutting bees are best for pollinating alfalfa. Many of these bees are designed to pollinate only certain types of plants. They are different sizes, shapes, or their proboscis only extends a short distance. Honeybees are wonderful, but we also need to work hard to stop pushing out the native bees that live with us too! Many of these bees are solitary; they only make a little honey to feed themselves and that is it.

How can we help Save the Bees?
The biggest and best role we can take to help bees is to plant more flowering plants and stop using pesticides. The biggest food source for bees should not be sugar water or corn syrup pellets. Bees are not livestock and they matter just as much as humans do. We understand there are emergencies in which bees need to have food, but sugar water or corn syrup should not be what bees solely live on. Do you want good honey? Bees want it too! Planting flowers allows the bees to be as healthy as we are when we eat their honey.

I am the Bee Queen and I am the bee’s voice, for they do not have one. Please take the time to help bees by planting flowers. Help beekeepers by allowing them to not need to use emergency feed. Please put in more plant gardens. Please help the bees win the battle against rock gardens taking over entire landscaping projects.

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

Confessions of a beekeeper 2019

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We have been asked so many times; why are plants so important? Why does it matter so much how bees are taken care of?

This year has been un-bee-livable! I have been learning so much for the last several years, but this year was different. If you follow The Honey Cottage or have read any of my other blogs; you know that we are BIG advocates on planting flowers. We are also advocating for the bees needing at least an acre and a half of constantly blooming flowers in order to stay healthy. This year we saw PROOF on what this can do for a beehive!! Our bees were busy and are super healthy. We know that many beekeepers have to sometimes feed the bees sugar water, which is a necessary evil. However, we are determined to show what happens when bees have a natural diet of flowers and lots of them. When we do feed our bees; we feed them with frames of honey that we have packed away from the year before.

We have a bee hive that is in the mountains where the bees have access to everything! There is a small river nearby and tons and tons of flowers for the bees. There is a huge basswood tree, apple trees, chokecherry trees, wildflowers, and sour cherries. Every time we went to check on the bees there were more flowers blooming. We saw so many new flowers that we have never seen before that we were in shock. There are acres and acres available to the bees. Since we have just established the bees this year, we wanted to leave enough honey for them to make it to spring. We did manage to steal a couple of frames of honey and the honey is INCREDIBLE!!!  I have never had honey so amazing! We are super pleased with how well that they are doing that we are making more planes to plant more flowers next year.

The property where they located at said this was the best year, they had for the fruit that was produced! That is one of the biggest complements a bee can receive. In order for the flowers to produce seeds, fruit, or vegetables; the bees have to pollinate them. Flowers are males and females just like humans; males produce the pollen that the bees are able to take to the female flowers. The pollen needs to get to the stigma of a female plant in order to reproduce. It takes 10 grains of pollen just to pollinate the other plants correctly. Which is why bees are faster and more proficient in pollinating flowers then humans. Once the flower has been pollinated it will produce the seeds and food that we eat. The amount of food that is eaten on the plant means the bees are doing an essential job for humans to keep eating and survive!

Help save the bees and start planning out your flower garden for next year now! There are drought resistant plants, perennials, and annuals that can bee planted. There are plants that will come up in the Spring, Summer, or Fall. Help where you can if you cannot plant your own garden. Please help save the bees one flower at a time!

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen