View Full Version : me's needz bees
25-03-2004, 06:03 PM
hi - we're trying to slowly convert a former monoculture mango orchard, into a lush sustainable system. a big problem i've noticed, is the lack of bees for pollination. we are trying to plant a diverse collection of native flowering trees and shrubs such as grevillea etc. only problem being these aren't flowering yet.
are there other ways of attracting bees quicker, and what plant varieties are absolutely irresistable to bees?
also, birds; apart from the odd magpie, you never see a parrot of any kind. we've got every other bug/spider/snake/ctoad/bat imaginable, just need a little more of the good ol birds and bees.
26-03-2004, 07:12 AM
no local bee keepers in the area?
you could always offer up your block as a place to rest the hives - most beekeepers give a decent payment in honey as well....everyone wins?
Some plants that attract bees - lavender, fennel, lemon balm, basil, coriander, thyme, borage, sunflowers. Most of them are easy to grow too, with only basil and coriander being a bit finicky. We've got a perennial basil which is very hardy and always covered in bees.
29-03-2004, 09:24 AM
I guess i am lucky that i have so many natives on my place and have a mix of European honey bees as well as native stingless bees. If you want honey, go the european bees... if you want pollinators, consider our native bees... there is a fair bit of info on the net about them!
As for good trees to plant... i am using a lot of different varieties of Acacias.... some of these can flower most of the year and you can get a collection where you can have something flowering most of the year round.
I use these b/c of their nitrogen fixing, they protect my younger fruit trees while they get established and i can harvest chook fodder and eventually coppice them for firewood.
As for getting in those smaller birds, try planting thorny trees where they can be protected from the bigger bully birds. I have finches, wrens and other small birds that use my Mandarin and Bunya nut pines for their nests :D
Hope this helps
29-03-2004, 01:10 PM
I have had good success in the past with creating bird 'beehives' for placement in gardens and orchards. These are basically domes ( 1 -2 m high) made with scrap pvc irrigation pipes and covered with wire mesh of the size you would use around a chook yard. (Not the fine chicken mesh for bird cages etc.) The mesh opening should be at least 2-3 cm across.
Then train a creeper to grow over the mesh. Perhaps place some stick/bamboo perches inside. Maybe even a couple of finch type nests (usually made from woven cane available from most pet shops). It is good if you can also provide a small water source inside like a ground level drip irrigation head into a ceramic dish etc.
It provides a cool, shady, protected haven for small birds. Add some rocks and small logs on the ground inside the shelter and it will also get used by lizards, frogs etc. Depending on the size of the garden/orchard, place several of these around the place. Cheap and easy to construct. A good kid-sized project.
Also don't forget your nocturnal visitors such as your native bats. These little guys eat up a prodigious number of pests every night. Scattering some bat shelters around the garden/orchard can really give them heaps of encouragement to hang out in your neighbourhood.
Re Bees. From my observations of mango orchards in Australia, India, and Thailand, european bees do contribute to pollination. However, native bees (small black dudes) seem to do much more work in pollination, especially where they have not been decimated by use of pesticides etc. They also seem more suited to plants like mangos which have relatively small flowers. These friendly little critters are very easy to get along with.
In the past I have successfully managed to transplant native bee hives from one location to another by waiting until after dark, sealing the entrance to their hive and relocating them. A couple of times I have set them up on a shady verandah so that watching their comings and goings adds to the ambience. Otherwise transplant them into your garden. They do like a water source nearby though.
Again, don't forget about the nocturnal pollinators as well. Moths, small bats, and other creatures all help with pollination. So basically, the healthier, more diverse and complete your natural ecosystem around your garden, the more 'free' workers you have on the payroll.
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