Help me learn about pollinators? I'm interested in making our very small California yard more friendly for pollinators. Where do we start? Flowers? Beehive? Can you point me to a not-overwhelming link for small scale beginners?
Everyone around here has gardeners and we're more likely to see dead bees in our yard than live ones :( My kids will run out with spoonfuls of honey for sluggish bees. I'm worried about pesticide use in the neighborhood, but also feel like I just don't know much on the topic.
A diversity of all kinds of plants will create a habitat for all kinds of bugs. So don't just think flowers, but other plants as well, both annual and perennial. The goal should be larger than just pollinators --- shoot for a biointensive natural environment with all kinds of insects and soil biota. A garden with 100 different plants growing in profusion will be a magnet for insects.
Insects need places to lay their eggs, shelter during difficult weather, over-winter, and protection from birds and other predators. Don't clean up every dead plant at the end of the summer growing season, but leave some of the spent plants for them to overwinter. Mulch (wood chip mulch is garden gold) creates a habitat for ground loving beetles and anthropods. Letting common garden veggies like carrots and beets, or herbs like dill or basil go to seed provides food for a wide variety of creatures (and seed for yourself for next year's garden).
When in doubt, plant more diversity. And comfrey. They'll show up and stick around if you create a habitat that they are excited to colonize.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
I am not sure if this is an over reaction panic type thing, but i had read that feeding honey they didn't make could bring disease from one hive to another. I have no idea if there is truth to it...
It's true. It can spread disease, & depending on quality of the source, poisons. Realistically if there are that many "sluggish" bees to be found it is probably too late for them & there is probably a bigger problem somewhere nearby. Save your honey for toast or pancakes. Or in Wayne's case ... sopapillas!
Argue for your limitations and they are yours forever.