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Old 05-17-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
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Bee Protection Program

DH has wanted to hire a lawn service to take care of our vast lawn area. I say no, as most services rely on chemicals like Roundup, and besides, weeds are just misplaced flowers. Chemicals, both pesticides and herbicides, are being implicated in the loss of bees world-wide. Right now, despite the cold weather, we still see many bees busily pollinating anything in bloom in our yard, and I like that!

We need to do more to save our bees!
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:34 PM   #2
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Absolutely, Bees are having a tough time right now. My favorite college professor studies bees and the effects of pollution on them.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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I agree Dawg. The neighbor up the street has two or three hives, plus he manages about 8 in another person's yard a few miles away. He's worried about his hives a lot! We tend to run around with a small spray bottle to knock down the bigger, uglier weeds. Otherwise, live and let live. After all, as long as the lawn is cut regularly it's all green, right?

There has been something running around on Facebook and such about an organization who petitioned both Home Depot and Lowes to stop selling plants treated with chemicals that kill bees. Their post said that HD has responded by saying they would look into doing something. Meanwhile, Lowes has not replied to the organization. Our daughter works at a Lowes, has for at least 6 years. Over that time she's been the manager of the garden department a couple of times, plus she said she had to work there over Mothers' Day weekend. I asked her about this. She said that they personally do not have any control over who delivers the plants to the store, but the plants are treated with an insecticide bomb in the truck on the way up. This year Lowes' has changed the delivery company they use. Also, Loverly said the smell in the truck is different when they open it, not caustic but definitely more pleasant. Don't know if this translates to a kinder and gentler insecticide being used or just the combined smells of all the plants and soil in the truck. One can only hope it's better for the bees.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #4
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My feeling too, CG, it's all green! Except for the huge patch of Creeping Charlie, which is now purple, but full of bees! Sadly, without bees, we won't have many fruits and vegetables left. And when they're gone, they're gone.

We yank and pull weeds, and I got this great fire torch for stuff in the sidewalks and driveway. We're both afraid of it, but we're learning. DH was annoyed when I told him that we should leave some of the dandelion flowers for the bees.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:28 PM   #5
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If it makes you feel better, we still have plenty of dandy lions and other weeds and vegetation in the woods part of our yard. "The Woods" constitutes at least half of our 1/2 acre allotment. When we say we're "keepin' it wild" it has nothing to do with our social life.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:33 PM   #6
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I got a bee bonus this week. I had two hives on my place. One is my own Kenya top bar hive that is now in its second spring and fully populated. Later in the year, I'll rob it of enough honey for our use and leave them plenty to get through the winter. Next spring, I may have to bring in another hive and split the colony between them. (If they get two cramped, half of them may swarm and go looking for a new place.)

The bonus: I used to have an old establish hive in an ancient oak tree beside the house. Last year, they vanished. I found no unusual number of dead, so I think they either swarmed or may have been overrun by fire ants and fled. This week, a swarm from elsewhere arrived and formed a "beard" on the tree. After about fifteen minutes, the concluded that the old cavity in the tree was a good prospect and moved right in. I'll have to inspect around the base of the tree to see if the ants will give them trouble. Somehow, I doubt that was the problem. I get no honey from this bunch, but they are more than welcome. And I keep an empty conventional hive box mounted high on a shed wall, just in case a swarm comes by seeking a home. If I'd been home at the time, I could have moved the swarm into the empty hive. They're very gentle when they have no home to defend.

A small hive is a good match to a garden. Bees take little management, being, of course, able to survive well in the wild. "Store bought" bees are mostly bred from gentle Italian bees, and you can sit within three or four feet and watch the hive. I work my hive without any protection. (Except a hat. They can get in your hair when a bunch of them boil out of an open hive.) Urban bees often do very well, because there's always plenty in bloom within their 2-3 mile range.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:34 PM   #7
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Missoula doesn't allow pesticides on city property, the parks are full of dandelions and so are many yards. Lovely banks of yellow all over the city.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:07 PM   #8
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Missoula is pretty progressive, PF! I like dandelions, you can eat the greens, make wine from the flowers (though I haven't tried doing it) and bees like them too. And they disappear, so no need to spray.

Love the bee story, GLC!
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:18 AM   #9
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The best bouquets ever are the fistfuls of dandelions from your kids! Mine were always displayed proudly in a real vase (or at least a pretty glass!). <3
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:48 AM   #10
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My Mother received dandelions everyday while she was in the hospital after having my brother, she brought all of them home with her. A nurse commented about who would send a new Mother dandelions and Mom said, "My daughters."
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:55 PM   #11
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CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is a big problem. I grow cone flowers, which I don't particularly like, but the bumblebees do.

Quebec has banned "chemical herbicides" (I don't know what they think the natural ones are made of, if not chemicals.). The province has had a "Pesticides Management Code" since 2003. There are some pesticides that are just outright banned. Dollard-des-Ormeaux, the city in which I live, has banned almost all use of pesticides since 2006. If you can prove you have an infestation, you can get a 10 day permit to have a certified lawn care company apply pesticides. There are all sorts of rules about notifying neighbours, posting little signs, and keeping it away from toys and kiddy pools, as well as not spraying in winds over 15 km/hour and lot of other rules.

We certainly have a lot more "weeds" in the lawns of our condo association, but, as someone else wrote, it's all green.

Here's two photos of the green patch across from my front door.



I see a lot of green with cheerful dandelions and dainty white flowers.
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:11 PM   #12
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During WWII, dandelions were an important source of latex in the USSR. That milky-white fluid that oozes from a picked stem is latex rubber. I think that dandelions would make a great cash crop, with the flowers being useful for wine making, and the early greans for use in salads, the roots used as a starchy veggie, and the latex for natural rubber. What's not to like about this plant that is such a great source of early food for bees? The only reason I try to control them is because of pressure from DW to do so, and the fact that everyone east of me wants them out of their lawns. If I had my way, I would have a wild yard.

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Old 05-18-2014, 05:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zereh View Post
The best bouquets ever are the fistfuls of dandelions from your kids! Mine were always displayed proudly in a real vase (or at least a pretty glass!). <3
That is what the small jars of Kraft cheeses are for. Those little glasses make the perfect dandelion vase.
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