How to Protect Pollinators in Your Own Backyard
By Caryn Gehlmann
Summer is a busy time of year for me, because in addition to being a clinical aromatherapist, I’m a beekeeper! My sister Marge and I have our own apiary here in Southern Oregon, Blissful Bee’s Apiary. (These photos are of Marge, a fellow beekeeper from our area, and me getting our hives ready for the year.) While almost everyone has heard about the dangerous plight of our bees, many don’t realize that the problem is far more widespread, impacting all pollinators. So I think it’s important to raise awareness of how we can protect pollinators in our own backyards.
If you want to read an eye opening article on what life would be like without all the insects we take for granted, this NY Times article is a revelation!
Here at e3, we’re very aware that we need our pollinators. We do everything possible to support and protect pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and beetles. We can’t have essential oils without them! That’s why we think we’re very fortunate to be neighbors with the amazing non-profit organization, Pollinator Project Rogue Valley (PPRV). They are a fantastic resource for information on simple things we can do to support and protect pollinators.
Kristina Lefever, the president of PPRV, loves teaching about our native pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, flies, wasps, beetles, and hummingbirds, and the plants and habitats that best support them. She and her husband turned their barren property in Ashland into a pollinator garden. Her dream is that everyone’s yard will include a little or a lot of pollinator habitat, even if it’s just a pot of nepeta (catmint) on the porch.
Have you ever been curious about…
- What are native pollinators?
- Why do you want them?
- Which ones are ‘the best’?
- How do you get and keep them in your garden?
- What are the best flowers for pollinators?
- How do you control unwanted insects, without harming beneficial ones?
Kristina is going to be teaching two classes at Lavender Fields Forever this summer to help answer those questions:
Protecting Pollinators in the Gardens on June 15th
Top 10 Beneficial Insects to Know & Love on July 21st
(Click on the links to learn more and sign-up for the class.)
As a beekeeper and an aromatherapist, I’m continuing to learn how essential oils can be used to support the health of honeybees and hives. Bees and their hives can suffer from a variety of maladies i.e. mites, fungus, nosema, chaulkbrood, foul brood, and mold. In a previous post, I shared specific essential oils that can be used to keep your beehive healthy.
I’ve been asked, how do you apply the essential oils to the hive? I’ve discovered there are several ways this can be done. You can create a base of 1:1 sugar syrup and use the standard hive feeders you would for the syrup. Another is applying essential oils to the winter sugar patty before placing it in the hive. You can also spray a mixture of sugar water and essential oils.
I love hearing from beekeepers and others who are using essential oils to support and protect pollinators. Care to share what works for you? Please feel free to contact e3 with tips or with questions.