Hawkweed – Feed the Bees

Here in Maine the weather has changed and its becoming colder.  The days are getting shorter with everything turning color and starting to go dormant for winter.  This restricts the pollinators to the fall flowers to get the nutrition they need to get them through the winter.

For many pollinators late summer and fall is not that different from spring and they need all the help they can get to find available stores.

By observing my honeybees, I have discovered that they really are getting lots of use out of the hawkweed on my lawn.  At the hive lots of yellow pollen is going in on bees that have faces caked in yellow.  It didn’t take long to figure out that it was the hawkweed the bees were working on.

Honeybee Working on Hawkweed

Hawkweed is a common lawn plant and the bees love it. It is such a great source of fall food for the bees. Let this plant grow and feed the bees.

Hawkweed comes in several species but for us here in Maine it is the yellow blossom that looks a little like a dandelion with a long neck and few leaves.  They come up in abundance on untreated lawns and are frequently mowed prior to the pollinators benefiting.  Just because a flower is in bloom doesn’t mean that it is providing for the bees.  Sometimes it may take a week or more for a flower to develop pollen and nectar, so early cutting will often eliminate the food source for the bees.

The most interesting thing about this time of year is that everything is slowing down including the grasses.  Many folks are mowing by habit or to maintain that horrible golf course look.  By the way, I never see any of my neighbors putting on their “perfect” lawns.  Skipping a week or two of mowing this time of year will allow the hawkweed to grow and be used by multiple pollinators.  The lawn is not going to get away from you and you get a week or two off; Woo Hoo!

Then, children in tow, you could go out on the lawn and see how many pollinators you can spot on the blossoms that you allowed to grow.  You can be proud of your achievement while teaching the children how important it is to respect nature and to work with it instead of against.

One might say that the pollinators can just use something else or that we don’t need that awful weed pollinated anyway.  A much larger point to consider is that the pollinators need this late source of pollen and in order to be around next year for what we want pollinated they have to eat.

We are so very busy that it is easy to forget our connection to the earth.  We have a tendancy to overlook the abundance we enjoy as a direct result of a clean, healthy environment, teaming with all sorts of busy pollinators.  We sometimes feel that there is not much we can do to help but if we mown a lawn nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, we are the gatekeepers of our lawns; we are in charge.  The true beauty in the lawn comes from the sun, water, and soil; not chemicals and thrashers.

By letting diversity thrive on the lawn you are embracing a connection to the earth.  You are supporting a system that has worked for millions of years.  You are also doing your part to embrace the life beneth the soil and the support system Mother Nature intends right in your yard.  Your lawn and Mother Nature need your help to ensure that the system is healthy and that it works.  There is no time like the present to get started getting in touch with nature.  You can embrace a lawn with hawkweed and all the other plants that live there instead of a lawn with billions of  identical blades of grass filled with chemicals. You can make a difference; and both you and Mother Nature will feel better because of your efforts.

So take a break from mowing, enjoy your yard and all the creatures that live there.  Let the hawkweed grow and you too can feed the bees this fall.

Honeybee Working on Hawkweed

This is such a great plant for the bees in the fall. It is up to all of us to cut the bees some slack and let the hawkweed grow on the lawn as a fall food source.

Check out The Beeline Buzz Hop

Mason Bees – A Safety Measure for Early Emergence.

Mason Bees – A Safety Measure For Early Emergence

We have had some pretty wild weather this year and mason bees could get the signal to emerge really early.  If you have them in a controlled environment then you will just proceed as you normally would.  But if you keep them naturally as I do then you should be careful to not put them in danger accidently.  Last year I had the bees stored in an abandoned chicken house and it got too warm and some males emerged and died on the window.  This year they are in a barn on the floor where it is coolest, but we have had 80 degree days already…I know!  I went upstairs and found common houseflies trapped in the peak windows.  Yes I know the difference between the common housefly and mason bees but they both get caught up trying to get out a bright window.  My first thought was to cover the window since the bees can escape via cracks in the walls if it is the only light to go to.  Then I decided to prop the window open with a piece of wood just large enough to get your finger through and that did the trick.  Within ten minutes the houseflies had all escaped.  Now if the mason bees emerge naturally in the barn, they will be able to get out.  Since they can return through multiple cracks then they can get in and out at will.  You still have time to put out a mason bee habitat and… be careful not to trap the bees when they are ready to emerge.

Systemic Pesticides Are Killing Bees! What Else Might They Be Killing?

Imidacloprid and Clothianidin are killing our honeybees and our governments know it.

This is not a new finding by any stretch of the imagination.  They have known for years and there is a really good chance that they knew all along.  I’m going to give you some sources so you can check this out yourselves.  But first I want to build a foundation for you to use as you research this for yourselves.

A systemic pesticide is a pesticide that by design gets in the plant and becomes part of the plant.  As part of a plant the pesticide is available to all parts of a plant including the roots, sap, stalks, leaves, blossoms, pollen, nectar, and the fruit.  It then kills the insects that feed on the plant.  It is important to note that many insects of many types that feed on any part of the plant can die; that is target insects and nontarget insects.  It is also important to note that the insects don’t need to die immediately as in fall on the back with the legs in the air dead.  They can die a very slow disoriented staggering around lost with more of a dementia sort of a death.

A certain level of independent thinking is truly necessary here.  The governments are hiding these facts from us.  The Giant Agrochemical Companies’ Public Relations Firms are constantly leading us off track.  They have an agenda and they know that they will be fine if they can just keep us in the dark.  They also know that we just want to believe that our food is safe so they just keep telling us everything is ok.  They want us to believe that the governmental regulatory agencies are looking out for us and most of us do.  We can’t fathom the idea that government could be so corrupt that they would actually allow us to eat toxic food but that is exactly what they are doing.

Let’s just think for a minute how we allow this to happen and do nothing.  First of all, we are at least somewhat content with our lives and seem to be happier knowing that our government is looking out for our best interest.  Secondly, we go through life in large part just doing our thing, chasing our various hobbies, watching TV, and doing the things we like to do.  Since that takes up so much of our time there is little time left to care about what is going on with our environment as a whole, our food and water supply, or the plight of any given non human species.  This makes the PR firms jobs much easier.  Most of us only need the slightest reassurance that everything is ok and we go on with our lives.

My favorite smoke screen perpetrated on us by the Giant Agrochemical Companies and their PR firms and Government hacks is the causes of CCD!  If this lie wasn’t so egregious it might be laughable, but they have managed to continue the hoax for 5 years know.  They have been very effective keeping the populace completely off balance and in suspense.  They use a few different tactics that we have all heard before.  Probably the most common one is, “it is a combination of factors such as, Varroa mites, tracheal mites, diarrhea, migratory beekeeping, loss of habitat, etc, bla, bla, bla.”; usually as a bit of an after though it will be mentioned that also pesticides may play a roll.  But if you make the obvious mistake of asking for more information on the pesticide link then you will hear that much more investigation needs to be done to prove any one culprit.  It is important to note that the bees do die from all those culprits but there is nothing new there as these problems are not new to bees.  The pesticides work to weaken the bees defenses against these pests and the pesticides are the common denominator period.  Another “string in the back of the neck” response is “scientists are working diligently to find the cause of CCD Colony Collapse Disorder.”  WOW!  They sure are wasting lots of time, money, and effort if they aren’t diligently trying to find out how to keep from killing bees with systemic chemicals.  I have no degree and I’ll answer that for free!  Stop using these systemic neonicotinoid chemicals that you know for a fact are killing the bees!

Beekeepers have been screaming at the top of their lungs that it is pesticides that are killing their bees for years now but you can only hear this from non mainstream media outlets.  One only needs to watch Vanishing of the Bees and listen to the interviews of top beekeepers in the field to see that they have known and have been trying to work with governmenst on this issue for a while now.  And speaking of the mainstream media, they know the truth as well but who pays their bills…?

If you have made it this far you may be asking yourself what can I do about it.  Well let me help you with that.  I feel that beekeepers should be spreading the word diligently to get the truth out there.  I do it all the time.  You don’t get through a personal conversation with David Wright without being told that systemic chemicals are killing our pollinators.  We are not just talking honeybees here but I’ll stay on track since honeybees are getting all the buzz.  If you are not a beekeeper then you could take a small space of time each day or even once a week to do a little homework on the topic of system pesticides.  Learn what they are and how they work.  What foods are they being used on in your area?  What foods are you eating that contain systemic pesticides?  Read studies from areas abroad on the topic to see what other scientist have to say.  Remember that scientists that speak out about this will be vilified and discredited so don’t be put off by the negative press directed at them, just read their work.  As you study these chemicals you will be pulled into the GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) issue, but that is ok since the 2 subjects are so interrelated.  You will see as you go along how they relate and why this topic is so important to you and your family.

This is not conspiracy theory stuff but the powers that be would have you believe that way.  No, this is real and it is happening right now; right in front of all of us.  I’ll direct you to some websites below to help you get started and then you can branch out from there.  The title above asks, “What else might they be killing”?  I don’t know but we need to find out.  These chemicals are being feed to us now and the time for action is now…please get involved now.

Here are a few links to get you started with learning the truth about what you are eating and what is killing our bees.

As I mentioned above, everyone should watch “Vanishing of the Bees”

Tom Theobald at the Boulder County Beekeepers’ Association website.   Read the articles on Tom’s Corner.

Recently published findings on Systemics killing honeybees.

A 5 minute video with the Bee Researchers themselves on Imidacloprid.

Here is a link to a great way to research Poison in our food.

If you did all the above then give yourself 5 gold stars!  Thanks for caring, now put that knowledge to use.