Back in June, I was finding at least 5 dead bees a day near my pool or on my driveway. Yesterday, I interviewed experienced backyard Beekeeper Ruth Askren, and I learned that this grim discovery was a natural occurrence called the “dearth.” This seasonal dearth happens twice a year. First, right after the bees have been supremely busy, usually end of spring and secondly, towards the end of summer, when they have been flying from one flower to another, for days on end collecting pollen and they just exhaust themselves to death, literally.
Ruth is one of the volunteers at BackwardsBeekeepers.com, describing themselves as” a group of organic, treatment-free beekeepers in Los Angeles, with branches now forming in other cities.” Like myself, they are part of the movement that rejects the use of pesticides and chemicals in our backyards, which harms not only the bees, but many other beneficial insects.
I met with Ruth because I am interested in beekeeping since my garden is a haven for bees, filled with lavender, alyssum, poppies and orange blossoms and I know just the right spot to put 2 hives (the minimum you should start with). Unfortunately the area I live in isn’t zoned for beekeeping, and it could be because the main concern is the possibility of being stung. Responsible beekeeping and the due diligence of proper beehive maintenance should prevent accidents. I wouldn’t want to get stung either! Do check with your local zoning laws in your area if you are interested in beekeeping. It would be wonderful if all of Los Angeles, like New York City, legalized beekeeping.
The bees really need our help and we really need the bees because they pollinate 80% of the world’s plants and 1 out of every 3-4 bites of food we eat is thanks to them.
Flowers that bees love: Alyssum, Anise and wild Anise, Poppies, Bee Balm, Sunflowers, Butterfly weed, Clover, Lavender, Thyme, Salvias, Echium, Cosmos and Coneflower.