Friday, April 2, 2010

Buzz Buzz Buzz

As if the warm temps weren't indication enough that spring has finally arrived, today My Florida Backyard is enjoying the sweet scent of citrus blossoms with every breeze that blows through. We don't have any citrus in our gardens but many of the neighbors do, so every deep breath we take outside is full of the intoxicating scent.

Our front garden is contributing to the party, though, because the holly bush is in flower. Holly saves its showiness for the red berries and shiny leaves, and the tiny little blooms give off only a light fragrance that you have to be very close to notice.

It was when I was poking my nose into the holly to enjoy the smell when I realized that the whole bush seemed to be buzzing. Upon closer inspection, I realized that while the scent might be light to human noses, it was clearly a beacon for the honey bees, for nearly every blossom had an inquisitive fellow poking around for nectar.

At a healthy distance, bees are fascinating creatures that every gardener should have true respect for. After all, bees provide something like one-third of the pollination needed for edible plants, which is why the recent decline in honey bee populations is something to be concerned about. Since 2004, honey bees have been dying off at an alarming rate, possibly due to the widespread use of pesticides intended to control other insects. This is yet another reason My Florida Backyard avoids pesticides, except when spot-treating fire ant mounds.
Gardeners should welcome bees to their yards. Of course, as with nearly all wild creatures, it's best to give bees a wide berth and let them do their thing. As my mom used to say, "If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone." Unless honeybees have decided to colonize your attic (in which case you should probably seek professional help!), just enjoy the busy buzzing of the bees as they help our gardens grow and thrive!


  1. I too love my bees. I think your own bees (and even wasps) get to know you and don't mind your presence. I've seen so few honeybees in my garden, I think I'd welcome them even if they decided to take up residence in my attic.

    I heard that an effective way to get rid of fire ants is to take a shovel full of ants from another colony and dump them into the fire ant mound. They'll fight it out among themselves. My favorite method is to dump soapy water on them--I haven't seen any in years.

  2. Your holly bush is looking very nice. I just bought some Burfords but they are not blooming. Bees are so important to a garden, I love seeing them too. I have seen one or two this past week. Now that it is warming up the bees and butterflies are slowly returning.