Growing Solutions: Pollinator Gardens

Use the hashtag #feedmorebees to have your favorite pollinator friendly plants added to our guide!

Use the hashtag #feedmorebees to have your favorite pollinator friendly plants added to our guide!

While local legislation and advocacy groups are leading the fight against fungicides and pesticides that cause massive honey bee die offs, your garden or homestead can also be apart of the solution in a big way. The fact is, while more people are turning to beekeeping as apart of the solution, the honeybee is running out of dependable sources of food. When nectar in the field becomes scarce, the worker bees drag the drones out of the hive and do not let them return, causing them to starve to death.

We can help. Plant any of the following flowers this year to feed more bees. These flowers are all suited for zones 1-5. If you are buying plants make sure they aren't just labeled pollinator friendly, but most importantly that they are sold at a 
neonicotinoids-free garden center. For more information on our world's disappearing honeybee, check out this TED talk by local hero to us Dr. Marla Spivak.

Don't be a jerk. 
Help save the honeyBees.
 #feedmorebees

Tennessee Purple Coneflower + Pincushion flower + Pincushion flower + Yarrow

Prickly Poppy + Rosemary + Thyme + Mint

Sweet alyssum + Sunflowers + Bee Balm (Lemon) + Crocus  

 

 

Thank you to our friends at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for the flower photos and for their commitment to providing rare non-GMO heirloom seeds. They make planting Pollinator Gardens easy by selling pollinator seed collections. Give 'em a look-see! 


 

Bee Anatomy

We've been watching busy bee's collecting pollen and nectar all summer long and wondered - how do they do this, what are those little yellow sacks on their legs and how does pollen turn into honey?

In order to find out, we gave ourselves a lesson on basic bee anatomy, here's what we learned!

Proboscis:

The honeybee uses this long hairy tongue to pull liquid nectar from plants and flowers. The worker bee's transfer of pollen enables many plants to reproduce.  

Honey Stomach:
Nectar is stored inside the "honey stomach" which is then brought back to the hive and deposited into the honeycomb. 

Wings:
Bees flit their wings to dry up the liquid nectar turning it into honey. 

Pollen Basket
The bee will diet on Pollen harvesting and transferring it on their hind legs.

Producer Story: The Beez Kneez

If you are anything like us, you’ve read or watched a panic-inducing documentary about the vanishing bee crisis our food system is currently facing. 

Honey bees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the worlds food including apples, almonds, watermelons and beans. Bee populations have been dying off at a rate that the U.S Government deems economically unsustainable, as high as 30%. 

Local heroes to us, The Beez Kneez, LLC, are one part of the solution.  We sat down with educator, beekeeper and bicyclist Erin Rupp to learn a little more about Beez Kneez and to find out just how these gorgeous honey bees can give our community a much needed dose of hope.

 

Read More

Cross Pollination

So now that we've got a handle on the basic anatomy of a bee, we wondered how the process of pollination actually occurs? Here's the technical definition:

  1. Pollination occurs when pollen is moved within flowers or carried from flower to flowerby pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, animals, or by the wind.

  2. The transfer of pollen in and between flowers of the same species leads to fertilization, and successful seed and fruit production for plants.

  3. Pollination ensures that a plant will produce full-bodied fruit and a full set of viable seeds.

     

Speaking of pollination
Did you know that bumble bee's actually "bumble" inside of flowers to knock the pollen onto it's back?! Very effective and very cute.

And for extra credit...
When deciding what to plant, check out the bloom times listed and try to space out your blooms so the pollinators have continuous pollen all season long. Those lil buddies will thank you and so will we!

Here is a list of beneficial plants for Minnesota Bee's.