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Creating a Bee Sanctuary

When I tell you I have a black thumb, I am not exaggerating. I am super crafty, I can cook just about anything you want, I like to organize, and I love to read....but...


I. Kill. Plants.


There are Thomas Honey family members that grow beautiful gardens, lush plants, and envious lawns. I do my best to keep the weeds from overtaking my backyard.


But like the rest of us, I am a lover of bees. I want to support the girls in any way I can, and sometimes that doesn't require keeping anything but the bees alive (praise the Lord)! If you're looking for a fun summer project, if you want to create a super bee-friendly oasis, or you're like me and kill everything green but still want to support our favorite sweet girls, check out the tips below!


Bee Friendly for Green Thumbs:


When you're planning your bee oasis there are a few things to keep in mind for attracting bees: Color, Shape and Size, and Season.


There are more if you want to get really technical but we'll just cover the basics here.


Color

Did you know that bees actually see flowers in the blue and purple color spectrum better than other colors?


Did you know that flowers in this color spectrum tend to produce more nectar too?


Plant blooms like: crocus, hyacinth, lavender, and aster


Shape and Size

Some bees prefer certain flowers for their shape. Bees with long tongues seek out tubular, deep-throated blooms, and bees with short tongues visit flowers where the nectar is more easily accessible (like those in the daisy family). Honeybees fall in the middle of these categories and are known to drill holes through petals or pry them apart when they cannot reach the nectar.


Flower size is also important to the honeybee. These hardworking girls have a lot on their to-do list and tend to prefer flowers of small sizes.


Plant blooms like: allium, daisies, chives, and pentas


Season

While we definitely see our girls more active in the spring and summer, planting for fall is just as important to support colonies during hibernation. Beginning in late summer-early fall, hives are stocked with stores of food to make it through cold winter months. Even here in the south where it stays warmer longer, providing for a colony as they prepare for hibernation is vital to their survival.


Plant late-season blooms like: goldenrod, helenium, hyssop, sunflower


If Flower Growing Isn't Your Super Power


Provide a comfortable home

Not all bees are social like honeybees, some - like bumblebees - nest in holes in the ground. If your goal is to encourage all types of pollinators, or you want to provide a safe place for swarms seeking their own new homes, adding bee hotels or empty hive space is a great way to support the bee community.


Swarms tend to happen throughout the summer (May - July), these are colonies that have gown too large for their hive, split, and one portion is now seeking a new home. These swarms are tired, and have very limited time to find a safe place to live. While their presence can become problematic if they find a wall or frequented area to call home, pollinator enthusiasts may consider whether they're able to give them space to just *bee*.


Our goal here at Thomas Honey is to educate, encourage, and support all those who want to learn more about bees and become part of the matriarchy. That being said, beekeeping is not for the faint of heart. It is a big commitment and can go south easily, please plan and implement your beekeeping efforts responsibly and with care. Here's quick article that touches on some of the basic considerations of getting started.


Use less chemicals

Treating your flowers and lawn with pesticides creates an extremely toxic environment for all pollinators. Shoot for eco-friendly treatments and apply them in early morning or dusk. When shopping for planting supplies, keep an eye out for pre-treated plants too. When bees find a good source of food, they report back to the hive and tell them how to get there. Even small doses of synthetic chemicals can be harmful!


Water Access

It may seem funny, but honeybees need to take a break and stop for a refreshing sip of water during their busy day. Create a bee watering station by placing a shallow wide dish with marbles or stones in the garden. You can also add stones to a bird bath to create a shallow landing space. If you want to watch your favorite girls in action find a level spot and add one of these bee friendly water dispensers!


No matter what kind of gardener you are (or wish to be), you can absolutely create a lovely little space for our sweet girls to visit!


Happy Oasis Planning y'all!

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