I don't keep bees(don't have a hive) on my urban property, because my lots are very close to two cell towers, and I and my pets(dogs/cat) have become Electro-magnetally Hypersensitive.
I feel it would be unethical to add more animals to the mix, am trying to relocate when I can.
And I noticed bee populations here were very low when I started my garden/ hügelkultur food forest, even though the yard had a lot of clover.....(the cell phone towers were here already)
Since doing this Hügelkultur project my view has changed a little bit, regarding bees.
After they started showing up in my garden in droves.
In particular I noticed that really like kale flowers, mustard flowers, and Russian sage, and when these are in bloom I get a lot of bee visitors.
I'm in Tulsa, OK Zone 6B
What I've noticed is if I plant kale, mustard, spinach, and cilantro in the VERY LATE fall, some of the plants germinate in the fall and remain very small over the winter (Kale and spinach).
The Cilantro and Mustard tend to just overwinter nd sprout in the spring, but it's advantageous to put them al out in the fall because the cilantro and the Mustard tend to (not sure of the words for it, try to go to seed) too early if I forget in the early spring and plant them too late.
If they overwinter they sprout at their earliest opportunity and I get the produce and a better seed crop TOO.
Anyhow, I forgot to collect my kale seeds last season, I piled the dried up plants in a few places in the garden, then the seeds dropped off and then I tossed the skeletons on my waste berm.
And I didn't plant anything LATE last fall(except spinach) bees seem a bit aloof to spinach but I love it and it's the only way I get any(goes from cold to super hot all of a sudden here in the spring)
But got a few volunteers of kale this year and the bees are now pollinating those, and I have big fat pods developing for replanting this late fall.
What I do with Kale is I toss it everywhere like grass seed(now that I have enough seed to do it that way.)
But here's a trick others might find real handy:
In the Mexican aisle of most grocery stores, and at Asian and international markets, I buy seeds AS SPICE.(I'll do another thread just on that soon probably)
Mustard seeds, coriander seeds(cilantro) and a type of Asian sweet basil seed are all sold as spices(the basil is usedin a fruit drink in Vietnam/Thailand as a spice) It's not italian sweet basil, but it's sweet basil of another variety and has wonderful aroma and lavor, and it grows fine in zone 6B.....So Instead of paying $1.95 for a seed pack at the nurdery that might have 150 seeds in it, I pay $1.99 as "spice and get 10,000 seeds.
And instead of hoeing a row on my berm and carefully planting them, I just toss it all on top like grass seed.
(Bigger seeds I sometimes dig up some dirt, then toss that on top....)
Back to the topic though:
Ethics: I like seeing bees come around, and though I don't want to subject them to radiation from cell towers, it may help them adapt to it. I never see them drop dead in my garden, just wouldn't locate a hive here.
I think that's a fair deal, because wherever they are coming from, wherever their hive is at, my garden had the best food/pollen in the neighborhood.
If they come and go they get food and they may get time to adapt to the toxic RF, as long as wherever their hive is at it's less EMF....
But the question is this:
Kale and Mustard bloom around here from around april-JUne
Russian Sage blooms from late JUly through August or September.
What other plants can I put in that bloom earlier than Kale, and between kale and Russian sage, and late in the fall?
A big list of zone 6B BEE plants would be nice to have.
Especially perennials, but based on dates they bloom So I can make sure there is always pollen for them to gather throughout the non-winter season.
I want them to have food they prefer no matter what month it is when they visit.
They showed up early this year for Henbit, but I had no "Bridge Food" between henbit and Kale....
I'm missing a bridge between kale and Russian sage....
Cilantro is often included in pollinator seed mixes. Have never noticed them on spinach. I don't think spinach produces nectar. Buckwheat grows fast. Start to finish in about 6 weeks. I plant it throughout the season & try to keep some in bloom at all times. It won't survive winter but cilantro tolerates cold much better. Chickens & bees both like buckwheat. Makes good pancakes too. Comfrey is a good plant for hugels & for bees. Borage, bee balm, & clovers are other bee favorites. Clover is good for hugels too. I've read that blue is bees favorite color so if there are blue flowers that do well in your area I'd suggest trying some of those. The bees may or may not be able use it but it might help attract them. Flowers in general are good for attracting bees. So are fruit trees, sourwood, goldenrod, & many kinds of native wild flowers & plants. Peach honey is amazingly tasty!!!
Check out your local beekeeper association website. They usually have a list of bee plants recommended for their local area.
I've read mixed results from scientific studies concerning bees & EMI/RFI & ELF waves. I'm not sure anything definite has been determined yet but my personal & professional opinion is that they're not good for any of us.
Argue for your limitations and they are yours forever.
I don't have kale, but I like growing bok choy. I sow the seeds in early March, seeds germinated in a few days and seedlings are cold hardy. one month later they are already blooming. Sow a batch of seeds every week then you will have a long blooming time.
As far as I am aware - and I have looked into it - there is no credible evidence that bees are harmed in anyway by cell towers or other electromagnetic interference. There was one "paper" published a few years ago that got a lot of social media attention, but that involved a phone handset being placed inside a small number of colonies. Handsets generate MUCH stronger EM over short distances (centimeters) than they get from cell towers that are further away (meters). The inverse square law kicks in in a big way. As for the paper itself, it was essentially a school science project - small sample size, inadequate control of variables etc... There is so much natural variation in honey bee colonies due to genetic and environmental factors that huge - and I mean really huge - numbers of colonies are needed to draw reasonable conclusions.
On the question of bee forage - it is a great idea to consider nectar flows. These are highly variable by region however, so there is not going to be a single set of recommended plants.
Personally, I have been planting sainfoin - a long flowering, nitrogen fixing fodder crop that makes masses of nectar through the summer months.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
We tend to succession plant mustard's throughout the summer just for the bees. Their tall flowering stalks seem to be a favorite of our bees and then feed the plants to the hogs when the flowers are spent.
We also succession plant many varieties of sunflowers, they are only partly for the bees as we love the beauty and also put up the seeds for our chickens and us.
I have dozens of very (very) large comfrey plants that flower right through till frost. all bees love those flowers but especially bumble bees. I do use them for chop and drop but only because they get way too big. (also chicken feed). lastly, I let bidens alba grow across property lines all around.. It seems every type of bee for miles around visits these "weeds' daily. The patches are so large I believe it is the main food source for many bees. If any bees are foraging, you will see some on the bidens alba.
You ought to ventilate your mind and let the cobwebs out of it. Use this cup to catch the tiny ads: