an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

save the bees

Busy Bees

Busy Bees
Busy Bees

Busy Bees

Bees, hard at work in the garden, all taken in a 15-minute span—and these were the ones who weren’t too blurry or didn’t look alike. Don’t forget to plant something for them to eat so we can eat too. Collage made in Instagram.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Why Dandelions are Essential

dandelion with honey bee
dandelion with honey bee

Why Dandelions are Essential.

Where else can a hungry honey bee find a meal early in the spring when nothing else is blooming? This little cluster of dandelions is a lifesaver for a bee with spring coming so late and many plants blooming even later, or not at all after a series of freezes. This is another in my series of “Save Our Native Bees” images. Please download and share!

Dandelions are native to all temperate areas of the planet and in that way are familiar to bees all over the planet, providing nectar and pollen as early as warmer temperatures awaken bees. Many other pollinating insects rely on them for a meal as well, such as butterflies, and despised as they are they are important for attracting pollinators to gardens everywhere.

I just don’t understand the hatred of a pretty little yellow flower. I’m so glad to see them in the spring—sometimes they’ll actually bloom during the spring thaw, between the snows, and they’re good to eat too. Their long tap roots break up hard soil and bring minerals up to the surface where plants with shorter roots can access them and they help fix nitrogen in the soil. All those minerals and the vitamins that are locked into the leaves of any verdant plant, as nutritious as any cultivated cooking green we might grow like spinach, chard or mustard greens, are in those pointy leaves for us to consume, and from root to flower dandelions have been a staple in the human diet and healing pharmacy for as long as humans have been foraging. The yellow flowers have been used to make a famous dandelion wine, and also a pale buttery yellow dye. I find them pretty inspiring for artwork as well.

And if you want to have fruits in your orchards and vegetables in your garden, nothing welcomes pollinators like a bright yellow dandelion.

So many chemicals are used to kill dandelions on lawns every year and this chemical use contributes to nonpoint source pollution of our waterways, the largest category of pollutants in the nation. Maintaining your lawn as a habitat and cutting your grass as tall as possible generally keeps them under control—I’ve never gone after the ones in my yard, never use any chemicals at all, and this spring I have about six dandelions. A friend with a new home and an undeveloped lawn was angry about the dandelions that sprung up opportunistically before the grass was even planted. She hated having a front yard full of dandelions. I asked her, after she sprayed them, what did she have left? Dirt. How attractive was that? At least she’d had something blooming before she killed them.

So honor this beautiful and willing flower that has added so much to our health and the beauty of our human lives on this earth, and had not been at all humbled by our attempts to ungratefully kill it off once we decided it no longer fit our ideal of beauty and usefulness. And most importantly, let if feed our endangered bees.

Sources:

Wikipedia: Basic Information

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association: Ten Things You Might Not Know About Dandelions

Mother Nature Network: Save the Dandelions. Save the Bees.

US EPA: What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Off the Grid News: 8 Uses for Dandelions

 


“Everything Is Connected”

bumblebee on vervain by bernadette e. kazmarski

Save Your Native Bees

The flower of a tomato plant has the pollen so tightly held on the anther that it takes the vibration of a bumblebee to loosen it. The bee becomes dusted with the golden treasure, and leaves that flower for the next flower, spreading this elixir of life for tomatoes while gathering some for his own family back at the hive.

After WWII, when we began monocropping larger and larger farms, we used all the new pesticides invented during the war to kill off all the “weeds” in the fields which were too large to work by hand and making it easier for farmers to grow and harvest huge amounts of food. But the “weeds” were native wildflowers that fed the bees, that pollinated those fields.

I listened to a speaker tell us about all the ways bees make life on earth possible. Bees, yes, the ones we may be frightened of stinging us, the ones we don’t want building nests in our attics, the ones we wave away at picnics, the ones that are disappearing all over the globe and no one understands why.

I heard Marla Spivak in a segment entitled, “Why Are Bees Disappearing?” on the TED Radio Hour, which offers three or four segments of TED Talks under one topic, this one being “Everything Is Connected”.

If you garden, you know know these things, but many people do not. You can make a difference with your own back yard, letting your grass and cultivated plants mix with or be replaced by native species. I did this, and rather than being criticized and fined for a messy overgrown yard, my neighbors and visitors describe it as “lush” and “like a park”. And I am rewarded with this…

blue vervain

Evening Purple Dance

The delicate purple spikes of blue vervain bloom in the quiet time of the summer, elegant and dignified among the frenzy of production in my vegetable garden. One of my favorite wildflowers for its color and its sweet blooming, blue vervain was a volunteer in my garden, finding my little space acceptable to its needs.

In return I am rewarded with watching native honeybees visit to collect pollen, knowing I am at least doing a bit in the effort to save them by maintaining a wildness about my yard. I watched this bee march all the way around each little circlet of flowers before moving on to the next circlet.

honeybee on blue vervain

Save the Bumblebees

And purple and green below—my favorite color combination! Looks like it might be Euglossa dilemma or a Little Green Sweat Bee, but I don’t know my bees all that well. The tiny spiders have taken up residence as well. In fact, blue vervain is native to most of North America and along with the flowers attracting important pollinators, the seeds are also important through the winter for songbirds, and the plant is the larval host for the common buckeye butterfly and it has a long history of medicinal use for humans. Refer to this USDA document to read more.

little green bee on blue vervain

Little Green Bee, also an important pollinator.

Please feel free to copy and past this image with a link back to this post. Here’s another post with bees and wildflowers.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Evening Purple Dance

blue vervain
blue vervain

Evening Purple Dance

The delicate purple spikes of blue vervain bloom in the quiet time of the summer, elegant and dignified among the frenzy of production in my vegetable garden. One of my favorite wildflowers for its color and its sweet blooming, blue vervain was a volunteer in my garden, finding my little space acceptable to its needs.

In return I am rewarded with watching native honeybees visit to collect pollen, knowing I am at least doing a bit in the effort to save them by maintaining a wildness about my yard. I watched this bee march all the way around each little circlet of flowers before moving on to the next circlet.

honeybee on blue vervain

Save the Bumblebees

And purple and green below—my favorite color combination! Looks like it might be Euglossa dilemma or a Little Green Sweat Bee, but I don’t know my bees all that well. The tiny spiders have taken up residence as well. In fact, blue vervain is native to most of North America and along with the flowers attracting important pollinators, the seeds are also important through the winter for songbirds, and the plant is the larval host for the common buckeye butterfly and it has a long history of medicinal use for humans. Refer to this USDA document to read more.

little green bee on blue vervain

Little Green Bee, also an important pollinator.

Please feel free to copy and past this image with a link back to this post. Here’s another post with bees and wildflowers.

bumblebee on vervain by bernadette e. kazmarski

SaveYourNativeBees

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Native Wild Hollyhock

wild hollyhock
wild hollyhock

Honeybee having a meal on a wild hollyhock.

The delicate pink is so lovely, looking like crepe paper, purple veins and stamens, and the leaves are silver-green.

Always take care for your native plants that feed these important and endangered honeybees. And not only that, but they are lovely and hardy as rocks, growing here by the creek with no help from anyone..

wild hollyhocks

Wild Hollyhocks