This really is the “blooming” time of year here on the farm, and a new rose-like bramble has put forth lovely, freewheeling pink blossoms. The bees seem to be enamored of the new flowers, and were busily buzzing among them, pollen hanging like saddlebags from their legs. The bumblebees, in particular, couldn’t seem to leave these blushing blooms alone!
It’s been hot and very dry here lately (though a storm has rolled in and we’re finally getting a good soaking). The bees have been trying to drink out of the waterfowl pools and end up drowning if we don’t see them and fish them out with a stick. We don’t want to lose any pollinators, so we’ve begun putting out very shallow pans with water in them in the hopes of drawing them to a safer water source.
Hilary Kearney from Beekeeping Like A Girl has some useful tips for keeping bees out of pools and providing them with more attractive alternatives: How To Keep Bees Out of Your Pool. I was surprised to learn that bees seem to prefer funky water – like stagnant pond or puddle water. I really like Hilary’s idea of creating a low-maintenance water garden with half wine barrels (or perhaps bourbon barrels out here?). She suggests adding some mosquito fish and some floating plants, too. A nice water feature + safe drinking water for bees = win/win!
We appreciate the wide variety of pollinators for the critically important work that they do, and will continue to do our parts to keep them safe and healthy (like not using herbicides and pesticides). Choosing safer alternatives, like hand-pulling weeds, will benefit the pollinators, and, ultimately, all of us.
What kinds of bees have you seen in your garden? Tell us about them in the comments!