Bees, the Good and the Bad

Bees are vital to the success of our veggie gardens, with nearly one third of our food crops being pollinated by bees.  Bee populations are down, but here are a few things we as gardeners can do help attract bees to our gardens.

-Plant flowers and herbs that produce nectar and pollen.

-Plant native flowers rather than hybrids.

-Use combination of plants that will produce nectar and pollen throughout the year.

-Don’t use pesticides.

-Make sure water and shelter are available.

If you need ideas for plants click here.

Honey bee courtesy of

Although most of us know the importance of honey bees, many are unaware of the Africanized honey bees, better known as “killer” bees.  The africanized honey bee unlike the European, normal, honey bee is very aggressive and territorial.  These bees moved into the United States via south Texas back in 1990 and have spread to many areas in the South.  They will not seek you out, but if you stray near their hives, they will make you pay.

African honey bee swarm courtesy

Here are a few things you can do to insure these bees do not move into your home and yard.

-Remove potential nesting site

-Inspect exterior walls and eaves and seal openings greater than 1/8-inch

-Install screens (1/8-inch hardware cloth) over vents, rain spouts, water meter/utility boxes, tree cavities, etc.

-During peak swarming season (spring through fall) inspect once or twice a week for any bee activity.

If you see a nest stay away!  Do not spray the nest with anything, and call your local bee club to remove it.

If you disturb a hive here are a few things to do.

-Run for shelter.  Do not jump into a pool, they will stay and wait for you to surface.

-Cover your head with your shirt, as bees will get into your ears, nose, and mouth.

Click here to see where these bees have spread.

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5 Responses to Bees, the Good and the Bad

  1. Susan says:

    Thanks for the information on what to do should I ever come in contact with these nasty bees. Good Info!

  2. Tatyana says:

    I love bees, although I’ve been stung many times especially when I was a child. As for the killer bees…. I will try to run fast!

  3. meemsnyc says:

    Those are great tips thanks!

  4. skeeter says:

    When I hear the word Bees, I shriek inside. I was attacked by a swarm of bees this past summer. They stung me about 2 dozen times before I had them off my body. I was watering a flower bed and unbeknownst to me, they were nesting under the ground below the landscape timbers. Yikes, they hurt me but even with the stings I endured, I try to leave them be in the garden. I know they are important but I will never forget the pain from that many stings at one time. Ouch!

  5. Wendy says:

    wow, I was really nervous. We have some bees living in our shed but I’m really bad at identifying different types of bees. Looks like they’re not in MD though.

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