May 3, 2008

Swimming With The Bees ...(Bees Rock!)

Finally, bees have arrived to beekeepers in Minnesota. If you read my blog last month, you'll remember that an entire truckload of bees coming from CA was lost when the trailer crashed in a North Dakota snowstorm. (California drivers should NEVER attempt North Dakota in the winter season).

Now, a new load of bees have arrived and beekeepers spent the weekend picking up their ordered packages of bees to take home to hives around Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

This beekeeper is using a flashlight to check the Queen in each package. He has apparently lost his bee suit...or just doesn't care anymore.

This is the distributor's building holding all the boxes of bees until beekeepers come to pick up their orders. They were shipped from California to Minnesota, and about 200 beekeepers will come to pick up their bees within 48 hours.

Extra Queen Bees are individually packed in small wood boxes. There are many other bees crawling around on the Queen boxes.

Personally, I love honey bees and I was not afraid to photograph them. I work around bees all the time in the garden, and don't remember the last time I was stung. It annoys me frequently when I am working on a gardening project for a client, and they tell me they want me to try to plant things that "don't attract too many bees"!! ....I think we need to do exactly the opposite...What is the paranoia about bees? I think it's just mis-information. When bees are collecting pollen, they are very "busy" and do not bother people. The creature that invades picnics and gets in your pop (soda) can is a wasp- not a honey bee. Very few people are really allergic to bee stings. (Sorry if you're one of them) But honey bees are usually not the problem.

Because of the recent problems affecting bee colonies, people are starting to notice their importance, and bees are becoming "fashionable".

Bee Aware of issues affecting honey bees. And if you want to be hip in your community, plant flowers that attract bees and provide pollen. The best choices are often plants that are native to your area. Here are a few ideas:

Asters, Basil, Bee Balm (Monarda), Black-eyed-Susans, Clover, Cosmos, Fruit Trees, Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium), Marigold, Mint, Purple Coneflower, Rosemary, Salvia, Sedum, Sunflower, Zinnia.