Bee Food and Becoming a Farming Enthusiast

Flowering plants are the one ingredient that makes for successful beekeeping. The more varieties and varying blooming schedules the higher and more consistent the amount of pollen for the bees. We have a forty-acre field on our farm where we are growing bee food in the form of sunflowers, soy, and lavender. In addition, we have old pear and apple orchards, honeysuckle, and wild clover. Our home is also surrounded by a lot of different perennials, flowering trees, and herbs. Bees will travel from two to five miles to enjoy a flowering plant.

field
burned field

Bees fly from flower-to-flower collecting nectar that they make into food. When they land in a flower, pollen sticks to their hairy bodies; and when they travel from flower to flower, the pollen rubs off, pollinating the plant. In this mutually beneficial relationship, the bees get to eat and the flowers get to multiply.

“Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the honeybee, which pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables — including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots — they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape [canola]. Coffee, soya beans, clovers — like alfalfa, which is used for cattle feed — and even cotton are all dependent on honeybee pollination to increase yields.”– UK Observer, May 2, 2010

Now that I am a beekeeper, my interests in farming have broadened. I am working with a local farmer to grow sunflowers, soy, and a staggered row of lavender. This will be my first attempt at farming, and I look forward to feeding the bees on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore. Next post we’ll learn what to do if a bee stings you from Dr. Ron Silverman.

Read up: http://www.livestrong.com/benefits-of-bee-pollen/