Why trees make the best food sources for bees
Everyone these days wants to be pollinator friendly by planting to attract bees and butterflies.
What usually comes to mind are flowering plants such as Gaillardia, Coreopsis, Zinnia and such, but what we should be thinking is: Jamaican Caper, Simpson’s Stopper, Firebush, Melochia, Bahama Strongbark and Crabwood. These large shrubs and small trees bloom on and off for most of the year in South Florida, provide not only gobs of blooms for pollinators, but then offer the songbirds a feast.
More is better!
Because I am a registered bee keeper myself, I have the privilege of living with and observing these amazing creatures every day. What I have discovered is that no flowering plant can compete with the sheer number of blooms on a tree.
To produce abundant honey and remain healthy, bees need clean nectar and pollen sources. This is why systemic pesticides used on flowering plants and trees can be harmful to them, as they are translocated into the flowers and also the pollen. Lack of plentiful and clean forage is one of the many reasons that bees are in decline, not just honeybees, but also our native bees. Consider planting more flowering native shrubs and trees to support honeybees, and other beneficial insects and songbirds.
Not all honey is the same…
When buying honey, be sure to buy local (best if you are dealing with allergies) and “raw”. Raw means: unfiltered (to capture all of the healthy pollen grains), unheated (to capture all of the antioxidants which are destroyed by heating, and if possible untreated (most beekeepers use pesticides in their hives these days). By using raw honey, you are ensuring the full benefits of this delicious and nutritious product, some of which you helped to create by planting the bees trees!