Wednesday, July 8, 2009
When I told a friend that I planted a 1/4 acre of lavender, she thanked me. Uh-- you're welcome. Why? She told me it was good for bees and that the bees are in trouble. I have to admit that I don't know much about bees. (I don't suppose watching the Bee Movie counts). But I had heard that many honey bee colonies were collapsing and that a virus was suspect. It's my understanding that bees look for herbs like sage, mint, oregano and lavender. I also have to admit that I never considered the bee thing before I planted the lavender. I seem to be able to co-exist comfortably with them, though. When I go out to the field in the morning, the whole field is buzzing with the little pollinators. I'm probably living on borrowed time, but I always walk slowly through the field and they don't care about me at all. As long as they have the lavender, they aren't interested in me. And they're really sluggish- almost "drunk" with the nectar from the lavender. I'm sure one will get me eventually, but for now, I just take it nice and easy out there. Sometimes there are bees on a lavender plant and I take a handful of stems (holding them from the base), cut them, and place them carefully on the drying tray... and the bees never leave the flower. I transfer the bee from the plant to the tray right along with the bundle I cut.
We need these wonderful pollinators. Unless you have a bee sting allergy, consider planting a few things the bees particularly like. And I'm going to do a little research and learn more about bees.