Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Bees and Bales and Bears, oh my!

Posted by: Helen Yarmoska under Critters and pests Updated: May 29, 2013 - 10:59 AM

Several weeks ago, we found two of our bee hives did not make it through the winter.  Whether the hot September, the windy location or the chance of colony collapsing disorder – I’m not sure.  But I did the job of cleaning up the boxes and prepping them for a new family. 

We were too late to order bees from our usual sources, but hoped that maybe one of our friends from the MN Hobby Beekeepers Association might be able to help.  We didn’t get the bees before going up north for Memorial Day and maybe that was a good thing.  BEARS.

Please note that in this picture, you will see wires.  That’s our electric fence powered by a solar charger.  However, after cleaning up the boxes – I forgot to plug back in the charger.  Oops.  Not only did this hungry bear smash through the empty boxes, but she also toppled over my straw bale gardens that I had just started conditioning with blood meal. 

So besides planting my garden, I had more projects to add to the list thanks to nature.  But you know, the bear were there

first, I just need to work around them. 


Speaking of ‘there first,’ Kim Palmer has a great article about planting for pollinators.

As a beekeeper, I need to stress one thing in the article that’s especially important to beekeepers; it’s neonicotinoids.  They are pesticides placed in the soil before you even buy the plants.  The poison helps reduce bugs in the greenhouse so it is used more often than you might think. 

So now I have not only to look out for bears, but for people putting poison in my plants.  Oh my.


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