Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wow! Honey Bees!

I have lived here for 14+ years and have rarely ever seen any honey bees. The past few years I haven't seen any at all. The lack of them even causes problems with pollination of my veggies. I had to hand pollinate my tiny little bit of Fall garden to get anything to produce this year due to lack of the right kind of insects.

But I think I accidentally found what will bring them rolling in here. I have rarely ever planted Pansies here, maybe a few at my front gate, once. I had planted quite a few of them around my shop when I had it located downtown and even the hummingbirds seemed to love them. Then this year I thought I would plant one pot full here to have a good splash of color amongst the dreariness of winter. I never planted them here because the soil was so rocky, but I grew so many things in containers this year that I thought I would try Pansies, too. After that, they went on sale and I got more. I have one basket hanging out in the middle of my front yard where I can enjoy every time I step outside or look out the window.

Today I stepped outside to an unseasonably bright and warm December day. As I walked over to my hanging pot of Pansies to admire them more closely (I love that they are a bouquet that changes daily), I was totally surprised to see them dancing with honey bees! Now, some people may view that as a bad thing, but it is really a wonderful thing! Honey and honey bees are of an enormous value to our overall good health. And in the end, keeping them naturally fed and happy keeps us healthy.

I did a search and learned that Pansies are way up there on the list of flowers that honey bees love. And, because they are single petaled flowers, they are able to get more pollen from them per trip. (Single petaled flowers produce more pollen than multiple petaled flowers) Now, I knew that Pansies were edible flowers (taste is with a hint if wintergreen) and great for adding to salads, sugaring, and sinking into ice cubes for drinks, but today I learned that they are a great natural source of pollen for us, too.

So I will be keeping a close eye on my pansies this season, and if they continue to attract the bees on these beautiful days, I will continue to plant mounds of them every Fall! And as I type this and my mind wanders, I am wondering where those bees came from .... if they are from a close-by neighbor or from one of my many hollow trees. I am allergic to bees, so I probably won't follow them, but I am curious. I did get a little gutsy today and got right up to these. They flew all around me, thoroughly enjoying their Pansy feast, without any indication of trying to harm me. Guess they were really hungry.

click on pic to enlarge


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