Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rob Sproule Talks About Bees

Last Sunday was overcast and dreary, but Highlands Club Members found respite at Salisbury Greenhouse! 

The large retail space was warm and smelled green.  There were gorgeous pieces of furniture (meant for indoor and out), containers of fairy gardens (and supplies to makes such), leading us to a welcoming Rob Sproule to talk about bees.

He went through a number of articles he's written on bees, adding details and answering questions along the way. 

What is Killing our Bees points the finger at "Neonic" Pesticides and Varroa Mites, while suggesting some simple actions to help.

Attracting Bees suggests some good ways to make the garden Bee-Friendly including planting bee-friendly plants in clusters (3 or more),  planning for continuous blooms (3 or 4 different cycles in the summer), planting varieties of flower shapes to attract different types of bees. 

YEG Bees: Backyard Beekeeping in Edmonton highlights some of the exciting grassroots movements of backyard beekeeping, while also marvelling at the wonders of honeybees and hives.

Some additional notes from the talk:
  • We may consider them weeds, but dandelions and clover are some of the first to bloom in spring, making them an important food source. 
  • Available (retail) pesticides are of the "contact"type - if you have to use a pesticide, never spray when flowers are in bloom. 
  • Salisbury tries to Bee-Friendly by: using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with predatory bugs to control pests; choosing suppliers that do not use neonics; growing their own plants (70% of perennials and 90% of annuals to control what pesticides are used); and using seeds that are not neonic treated.
  • Some of the incentives for neonics: GMO monocrops which can be vulnerable to pests and diseases are pretreated instead of being managed

The talk generated more conversation after Mr. Sproule left: How to spread the word on what we're learning, how we needed to support local greenhouses (ones that are knowledgeable of and accountable for what they're selling)...

And, as we were in a place that sold stuff for gardens, we took a look.  Oh, how tempting it all was. 

Pretty birds...

... fairy Gardens with fairies... 

... seeds including Renee's Garden and Johnsons...

... exotic indoor plants... 

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