When it comes to landscaping the farmstead or urban homestead, it’s nice to be able to include plants that are both beautiful and functional. Bee balm is a North American wildflower that easily fills both roles. With an unusual, eye-catching bloom that is loved by bees and butterflies, these showy flowers can come in either scarlet or lavender, but this plant provides more than just looks and wildlife habitat: It is also a versatile herb with many different uses for health and home.
Honeybees have a number of pests and parasites that can weaken, damage, or even destroy the hive. This month we will focus on the most common pests in our beeyard — small hive beetles, wax moths, and varroa mites — as well as what we do to control them so we have the healthiest hives possible.
Meet some of our outdoor family members as I work to comply with the lawn ordinances being forced upon us. Hopefully, more of them are still alive and are adapting to something more akin to cave dwelling than open-forested lands.
They go by many names, depending on the region: sow bugs, pill bugs, potato bugs, wood lice, and roly-poly bugs. There are actually many different genus of these pests and one of them is terrorizing my garden.
I hate putting chemicals on my skin, so I use an essential oil spray that has proven to be very effective for preventing mosquito and other bug bites. In the past couple years in the garden, none of us have been bitten. Even at a riverside campground in Louisiana, there were no mosquito bites.
As my awareness of beneficial insects has grown, I find that it is getting easier to farm. It has become my second nature to consider and provide a place for them to live, eat, and raise a family year round. This practice is not only the right thing to do for the future of all, but it totally impacts my business bottom line for the good.
There are many logical reasons for adding flowers to your vegetable garden: attracting beneficials, crop diversity, companion-planting, barriers and healthy soil. But perhaps their beauty does not need to be rationalized at all!
Yellow jackets can pose a threat to honeybees. If yellow jackets have built a nest in your yard, here's a recipe for a natural, non-toxic solution that will get rid of them. Please share your own recommendations too!