Native and honey bees are a wonderful addition to any garden. And as a social insect, they are fascinating to study. But not everyone is ready to be a honeybee keeper. If you would like to support bees in your garden—but not ready to box up a living swarm—look over the links and information on Planting for Pollinators.
Do a little reading first. So many get captured by the concept but do little to educate themselves about the reality of keeping bees. Tending bees is work and there is a big difference between being a beekeeper and a bee “haver.” Are you willing to be responsible for collecting the swarms from your hive—even if they go over the neighbor’s fence or up in a tall tree?
If you are ready to jump right in… plunge ahead! But I will mention that a little mentoring up front can save you a lot of heart ache in the long run. If you have a fab location with lots of forage, perhaps encouraging a beekeeper to park a few hives on the property for a year would bring the responsibility of stewardship into sharper focus. Joining a beekeepers group is a fine way to listen to discussions and gain insights into fostering bees in a backyard.
Monterey Bay Beekeepers
Meets first Saturday of the month for news, presentations, comaraderie, and discussion. Visit the site for more information.
UC Davis Entomology Department
Incredible resource for much of the current research on colony collapse and information on bee health. Harry H. Laidlaw Bee Research Facility. UC Davis has a very good pollinator garden that you can visit also — the Haagen Dazs Honey Bee Haven.