It’s silly that this is step 8. Let’s all agree that not all steps are sequential. This is really step 0. Step “forget beekeeping and start here”. This is food. This is life. This is the difference between life and death. Feast and famine. Step 8 is plant for pollinators.
Bees need a diverse diet. They need protein and sugar: pollen and nectar. They need food in the spring, summer, fall and sometimes even winter. They need food that arrives early. Food that blooms late. Food that provides diverse nutrients. Food, for bees, is flowers. It’s sex too. Food and sex and color. How magnificent. Just like humans, bees suffer if forced to rely on one or two food sources for all their nutrients. Imagine only eating almonds for a month. Almonds infused with pesticides. As in “killers of pests”. Let us recall that in many cities, bees, our almond pollinators, are still considered “pests”.
In February, most commercial beekeepers send their hives to the California almond groves to pollinate this massive cash crop. The bees are fed sugar water and forced to pollinate the only flower available. It’s atrocious. Bee slavery. I could rant on his more, but suffice to say, leave your bees in one place and plant them a garden of eden. Notice what’s around you. Who’s here? Who blooms when? Are there fruit trees? Excellent! Lavender. Yum! Manzanita, rosemary, borage, brassicas, roses, chestnut trees, blackberries? You garden will thank you. Your bees will hum to you. Feed the earth. Feed the bees.