Benefits of bees in the garden

2019-05-08 06:02
photo: suppliedBees play a vital role in sustaining the world’s food security.

photo: suppliedBees play a vital role in sustaining the world’s food security.

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ALTHOUGH most gardeners have experienced the burning discomfort of a bee sting, all is soon forgotten when one enjoys a slice of delicious, honey-laden toast with tea at breakfast time.

Autumn gardens are abuzz with the activity of bees, butterflies and abundant other insect life all vital to the pollination of plants.

Greytown Garden Club is delighted to be hosting renowned apiarists Kim McCall and Craig Campbell, who will be giving a talk titled “The Importance of Bees to People and Gardens”, at the autumn Garden Club meeting on May 14. This meeting, which starts at 9 am with registration, is being held in the mature and wildlife friendly farm garden at Twist — the home of Kevin and Stella Cockburn.

In 1901, the Nobel Laureate, poet and philosopher Maurice Maeterlinck made the sobering statement: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left.”

Since 2007, there has been an alarmingly noticeable disappearance of bees worldwide, a phenomenon that has far-reaching implications for life as we know it. Without bees as pollinators of our fruit and vegetables, it is estimated that two thirds of produce that is presently grown will cease to be. This scenario, coupled with the exponentially burgeoning world population, paints a bleak picture. However, all is not lost. There is a lot that gardeners, farmers and the beekeeping fraternity can do to encourage and ensure the survival of these small creatures that play such a vital role in sustaining our food security.

McCall and Campbell, both of whom are respected members of the KZN Beekeepers Society, will be sharing their wealth of experience and practical ideas on how to encourage bees to visit the garden. They will also be covering the perennial matter of how to deal with a swarm that moves into a problematic area.

After the talk, a range of prize-winning honey products will be on sale. While enjoying the customary tea and spread of home-baked eats provided by members on tea duty, everyone will have the opportunity to wander around the extensive garden abounding with mature trees, shrubs and an assortment of garden wildlife.

As the meeting is being held at a private home, please take a chair to sit on. Members are reminded that annual membership fees are now due, and non-members are very welcome to attend at a cost of R60.

Directions to the venue will be signposted from the Pidelta Chailey turn off on the R33/Pietermaritzburg road on the outskirts of Greytown. It is suggested that members and visitors share transport to save fuel and to assist those who are unaccustomed to driving on farm roads.

For further information, contact Jen Cowie at 082 921 2134. — Supplied.

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