“Bee” Grateful to our Local Honey Helpers and Farmers

By: Sylvia Luneau

Northern California has been experiencing mild spring weather.  Farmer’s markets are buzzing with fragrant strawberries,  vibrant flowers and… the honey vendor is here! Support the local honey vendors among your local farmers.

Honey vendors only make a few gallons of honey per year and bringing that small crop to market is an expensive labor of love.  Before turning away from the local liquid gold elixir at $17 a jar, remember how important our local farmers are.  Furthermore, “bee” grateful for the mighty little pollinators that give us a beautiful natural sweetener.

The Benefits of Honey: 

In addition, to being a natural sweetener  local honey can help combat allergies, soothe a sore throat and can be used as an  anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial agent, all while making  tea extra special.

However, bees provide more than liquid golden honey. Bees are the most abundant pollinators, performing more than 80% of our cultivated crops. Moreover, 1/3 of the world’s food production is dependent on the pollination from bees. Therefore, bees are an integral part of our food system and it is imperative to keep our honey helpers happy!

How can we all “BEE” Helpful?
  1. Leave water out for bees:  Bees at this time of year are busy flying about pollinating.  To leave water out for bees, fill a shallow dish with water and small pebbles and a few small twigs.  The water should not be deep.  Keep this water in something you can easily freshen up on a daily or evey other day basis.
  1. Plant bee friendly plants:  Spring is a great time for an herb garden going and many herbs are bee friendly plants. Additionally, lavender specifically, “Goodwin Creek Grey”  is also a wonderful bee friendly plant. It can grow in pots as small and as large as you wish. Furthermore, if you have a little extra room in your yard fruit trees are amazing for bees and can bring years of blooms and fruit to your home. 

  1. Let the dandelions live a bit longer:  Bees love dandelions, make it your wish to leave these lucky flowers planted. 
Click here to learn how to build a bee house!
  1. Consider leaving a small bowl of dirt:  Bees nest in the ground and will only nest in dirt, so make sure the dirt is mulch free.
  1. Enjoy woodworking, consider making a bee house:  These are also known as a “bee block” or “bee hotel”.  They should face south or south east and be three feet above ground.

6. Buy Organic:  Common pesticides kill bees and the organic farmers combat this problem with non-toxic pesticides that support the swarm. 

  1. Give a tired bumblebee a touch of water in a spoon:  Did you spot a bumble bee on the ground?  That bee may just be tired and not dying.  Put a small amount of water in a teaspoon and place gently by the bee to see if it will drink.  

Let’s “bee” grateful for all that the bees do for us and “bee kind” by supporting our local farmers. Wishing you a Bee-utifully  sweet spring!

Click here to learn about National Bee Day!
Honey: Mayo Clinic
The Importance of Pollinators-UofA Division of Agriculture


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