Today I am thinking about designing my new home location for my honey bees. From what I've read, there are four essential elements for designing a bee garden:
1. Choose plants that are best suited for attracting bees in your region.
2. Limit the use of insecticides that are toxic to bees and other beneficial pollinators.
3. Provide shelter in your garden from elements such as wind, rain, or cold.
After a ton of research, I think I found the perfect location for the new habitat of bees. Hopefully it will support their entire life cycle of the pollinator from egg to larva to adult.
However, this was not an easy task on a couple of acres. Below was our first location that we ultimately decided would not work (sorry about the fuzzy photo). Location was too close to the farmer's field, too shady, and no exposure to the Northeast sunlight.
Drum roll please - here is the final pick for the new habitat. Below is the "BEFORE" picture:
As you can sort of see above, this location has a Forsythia bush (which just finished blooming) behind it on the Northwest side and a huge Pine tree on the Southwest side leaving the Northeast sun exposure area wide open. Great protection from the farmer's fields that surround our property. The concrete pad is almost level and used to be a foundation to an old milk house. This year the Forsythia bloomed really early so I think the bees will enjoy that in early Spring next year. Now across the old "lane" there will be a new barn constructed in about a month - far enough away to not block the sunlight but close enough to provide some more shelter from the winds. To the South of the newly constructed barn is our orchard (another bee friendly area).
I imagine that I can create quite the bee garden once I clean up this location (where's the chickens when I need them - the little slackers LOL). I think I will leave the picnic table nearby as I can put some flowers up on the table. The table looks broken in this photo but its not - it must be the angle of the photographer. To the left of the picnic table is a water pump.
I've read that some of the flowers that honey bees enjoy are: Alyssum, Ornamental Strawberry, Marigold, Zinnia, Bottlebrush, Lavenders, Valerian, Buckwheat, Salvias, Eucalyptus Ficifolia "Red Flowering Eucalyptus", Native Eucalyptus, Wild Mustard, Flowering Plum, Flowering Pear, Sage, Toyon, Escallonia, Cotoneaster, Orange tree, Lime Tree, Lantana, Ceanothus, Hibiscus, Albizia Julibrissin "Silk Tree", to name just a few.
The flowers I plan on surrounding the beehive with are: Zinnias, Marigolds, Salvias, Lavender, Bee Balm, Black Eyed Susans, Shasta Daisy and purple Coneflowers to name a few. This will be a big transplant job for most of the above from the city to the country. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them!
So when I get this project completed, I will re-post with an "AFTER" photo. I have 3,000 bees arriving at the end of the month! Time to get moving along with this project so to not disturb the bees too much once they are hived.
Have a great day! Beeeee happy!