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Tony Tomeo: The birds and the bees

Tony Tomeo: The birds and the bees

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Tony Tomeo: The birds and the bees

Bees know where the fun is.

There is so much more to gardening than mere horticulture. There is so much more to horticulture than mere plant life. Plants get eaten by insects and animals, and also take advantage of insects and animals for pollination and dispersion of seed. Some of us who enjoy gardening also like to attract some types of animals and insects to our gardens because they are nice to have around.

The birds and the bees, as well as butterflies, squirrels, lizards, snakes and other small animals add color, motion and vibrancy to the garden. Destructive animals like gophers, rats and deer, and cumbersomely big animals like moose and bears, are not so popular. Mosquitoes and flies are the sorts of insects that we would like to repel with aromatic herbs. Some but not all are welcome.

"Pollinator" flowers have become a fad recently, not only to attract bees, but also to provide them with more of what some believe they are lacking out in the wild. There is certainly nothing wrong with attracting bees. Those who are enslaved in honey production are best. Children learn as much about nature from bees as from other wildlife. The soft hum of big herds of bees is quite nice.

Beyond that, we should think outside the box of our home gardens. The unnatural disruption of local ecology can not be repaired by throwing more unnatural resources at it. Honeybees who were imported to make honey are not native, but displaced and interbred with natives enough to interfere with their natural pollinating behavior, as well as their resistance and susceptibility to disease.

Almost all plants in urban as well as agricultural areas were imported, too. They were perpetuated until they dominated the localized ecosystems. There is no shortage of bloom for bees. In fact, there is an overabundance of bloom potentially distracting bees from pollinating native specie that need them. Invasive exotic eucalypti might enjoy their popularity at the expense of California poppy.

Horticulturist Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.wordpress.com.

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First, an introduction. My name is Jim Rice and I am the president of the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association. We are a group of hobbyists from Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley that either keep beehives or are interested in honeybees and other pollinators. We hold monthly meetings that cover a variety of topics as we share what we have learned with other members. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month at the Flying Goat Tasting Room, 1520 E. Chestnut Court, Unit A at 6:30 p.m. With these articles, I hope to offer valuable information to the general public about bees.

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