I purchased a silage tarp to prepare a seedbed for our sweet corn field. I’m hoping weeds will germinate under it, and then after I remove the tarp, I can plant into a cleaner soil.
We manage our sweet corn without heribicides or pesticides and weeds can be a problem.
Later, I plan to use the tarp to cover round bales of hay.
I was also inspired by a book, “Keeping Bees With a Smile,” which promotes natural beekeeping. The author claims an apiary can be started and maintained with wild swarms.
So I’ve installed a swarm trap and am looking forward to see if it attracts a swarm of honeybees.
If the swarm trap works, I know I’m going to feel bad for the native pollinators as some people fear that the European Honeybee with their huge numbers, may limit the nectar resources for the native pollinators.
So I drilled some holes in a log I’m leaving in a conspicuous place to see if I can get some native bees to nest.
UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date May 8th. Email Matthew with order and/or questions: email@example.com. Thank you!
I don’t know if this is good enough to assuage your fears about the native bees, but here’s an anecdote. All over our farm we have big carpenter bees, but in our far back pasture we also have an aggressive medium-size ground nesting bee and a tiny bee that persistently likes to land on me when I’m sweaty (and sometimes stings me, but the sting is very mild). I don’t know the species of either of these bees as it seems the online resources for taxonomic identification are pretty sparse.
That pasture with the native bees happens to the closest field to the spot where a commercial beekeeper places hives on an adjacent farm. We often find large groups of honeybees drinking from the pond in that pasture. So apparently, the honeybees aren’t shutting down all competition. It may just be that in a diverse environment with pollen sources in woods, hedgerows, and pastures there is more than enough nectar to go round.
Based on the way you manage your farm’s ecosystem, my guess is that you’ll be alright too. I think the situation is rather like the way a grass-based beef farm can support a healthy population of deer, even though it would seem that the cattle and deer are competing for the same grazing resources, they are actually more complementary than competitive.
Thank you, Dave! That actually does help assuage my fears! And I think the native pollinators have some characteristics that help them access different flowers as well.
Nature = True 👍
Starting place for looking up types of bees, including good color photos: https://projectdragonfly.miamioh.edu/great-pollinator-project/the-pollinators/bees/bee-types/
That is a good site! Thank you!
Great to hear about organic sweet corn!! And, I’ve always been interested in bee hives. Good for you!!! Excellent.