I’m taking a little break from Trump and thinking positive thoughts for the future.
There aren’t a lot of bees around my yard most times. I see the occasional one in the caraganas or the dandelions but I fear there are not enough for when my fruit trees flower profusely, probably in a year or two. I’ve thought of setting up homes for mason bees in logs but it’s hard to be sure of the numbers. If I had a hive of honey-bees however… I could be rolling in bees and perhaps get some honey. I have a neighbour whose fruit trees are mature but production is quite variable. I don’t see a home for mason bees there so I’ll just do my own thing. If I put up bee houses and hives this year, I should be able to meet the need next year. Even TLW is OK with the idea of increasing production of fruit. She loves raspberries and other berries. What harm could a few bees do?
There is lots of information on the web about starting into bee-keeping and governmental regulations are rather simple. Register the hives and check frequently the health of the colonies, particularly against varroa mites. One can obtain queen bees and a starting colony from local retailers. They are expensive but if you do your part, the bees will prosper and be very productive. One can let them keep most of their honey to overwinter. One needs to treat for mites in the fall after the honey season if the infestation is above a few percent threshold. One can either sample the bees, inspect the bees or watch for mites falling out the bottom of the hive onto a screen. It’s all good. If I start with a mite-free colony I should be good for at least one season. Treatment consists of allowing bees to brush by miticidal strips at the door. I’ll plant some extra clover, dandelions, alfalfa and marigolds to help the bees near the end of the season of nectar. Diverse and plentiful supplies of nectar and pollen are the other half of the equation to keeping bees happy and productive.