Hive Mind

Hive mind (noun)

a notional entity consisting of a large number of people who share their knowledge or opinions with one another, regarded as producing either uncritical conformity or collective intelligence.

I’m sticking with the “collective intelligence” part of that definition.

Hive mind is like bee crowdsourcing—pulling together all the little brains and best physical energy in the hive to come up with a solution for the good of the whole. Hive Mind is about collaboration.


Think Like a Bee recently wrote a grant called Hive Mind. Here’s what we are imagining:

Wildflower and native plant swathes connecting neighborhood to neighborhood to neighborhood in Albuquerque, creating corridors of tasty food for many pollinators, Spring through Fall…

Image result for images of wildflower fields


Think Like A Bee has already contacted and set up a meeting with key players. We are assembling a Hive Mind of beekeepers, wildlife non-profits, and city departments to create this vision. It’s that collective intelligence and collaboration in motion. Now all we need is funding.

Good news! The grant Think Like A Bee wrote made it to the top 12 finalists! The Australian grantor is giving away $40,000 to the right applicants who receive the most votes on-line.

Flow Hive is donating 100% of profits from sales of our Flow Pollinator House that sold out last year in the United States and Australia. This funding will be directed to organisations that support local grassroots pollinator projects in these two countries. We are looking to support pollinator projects of all shapes and sizes—from small backyard activities to larger initiatives…a total of 6-7 projects, as well as runner-up prizes, will be funded in both the USA and Australia

“Hive Mind” project needs your vote! Voting closes 5pm Australian time, August 14, 2018. Vote Here.


Project 1: Hive Mind

Pollinator Support Program Shortlist

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Engaging communities to plant a web of pollinator habitat corridors throughout the city.

Think Like a Bee

Hive Mind takes the amazing capability of honeybees as superorganisms, and mimics their social networking and communication capability to create a web of pollinator habitat corridors throughout this city of a million. Hive Mind will utilize municipal support, who passed the Bee City USA resolution, as well as create a coalition of non-profit organisations such as the Xeric Garden Club, New Mexico Beekeeper Association, and Albuquerque Beeks as well as the Albuquerque Public School who are dedicated to creating wildlife and pollinator habitat corridors. This coalition will then move into the neighbourhoods and community base to educate and advocate for native pollinator habitat and protection, contracting with neighbourhood associations throughout the region to build habitat corridors in their medians, roadsides, public parks and private backyards. It will be a model for preservation and conservation of species, including an intergenerational approach with the inclusion of youth. Vote Now.

Thank you for your support!


Hive Mind


Related image




Honey Time

It’s summer time and the sweet elixir of nectar is flowing…Honey has now been processed and is available for purchase. My girls have been generous. The honey comes from organic farms and my backyard. It is truly phenomenal in it’s taste and texture and color.

I am selling this as a fundraiser for Think Like A Bee. A portion of the proceeds will go to support this newly and officially recognized IRS 501C3 and our ongoing advocacy/education in the community.


Here’s the price list:

Pint  $20

Quart $40

If you would like to reserve your jar(s), please message me on facebook, text my phone number or email me at and we’ll make arrangements for pick up. Any unsold honey will be taken to market.

I honor the hard work of my honeybees and give thanks for this generous gift from the earth(though, not without resistance at times and even their demise).

I am glad that I can then offer it to you. Most of all, thank you for your support of Think Like A Bee…

Bon appetit!



I Spy

Bee Friends, I have been on a very, VERY long trip this past month. Logging over 1,450 miles, I have been driving the highways and byways of the Eastern United States.

Image result for images u.s. interstates


I was disturbed by the spraying and mowing of the vast swaths of medians and shoulders along our interstates.

Image result for image of mowing interstates


I passed endless monocrops of corn and soybeans.

Image result for image corn fields

While in Harrisonburg, Virginia, my cousin clipped an article entitled “Honeybees Struggle to Eat at Bee Hot Spot”. (Daily News-Record, Harrisonburg, Va, July 3, 2018)

A new federal study finds that honeybees in the Northern Great Plains are having a hard time finding food as conservation land is converted to soybean and corn row crops. These crops have no food value for bees. This area—called “America’s last honeybee refuge”—lost about 629 square miles of prime bee habitat, according to the National Academy of Sciences….From 2006-2016, more than half the conservation land within a mile of bee colonies was converted into agriculture.

“Why can’t we do this?” I said out loud in an irritated voice as I read the article. Meaning, if bees are so crucial for our food system, why do we keep decimating, developing and destroying their livelihood and thus, our own food chain?

I imagined, as I drove along, what would be possible if the medians were filled with GMO and herbicide free wildflowers. How many pollinators could we feed if we created continuous ribbons of habitat for pollinators along our interstates?

Then I came to Northern, Virginia, along Interstate-81. I perked up. Someone with foresight was managing these medians and roadsides, I thought to myself. Fecund and rife with species native to the Shenandoah valley,  I saw butterflies zig-zagging their drunken dance as we zoomed by at 75 miles an hour. The dazzling colors were mostly lost on the speeding commuters and semi drivers.

Summer thickets of delicately scented sweet peas. Showy milkweed galore. Tall yellow columns of mullein. Queen Anne’s lace. Twinkling periwinkles. Yellow and purple asters.

Image result for images sweet peas

Just when I thought I had “spied” and listed them all, new species would pop up. My little “I spy” game kept my mind alert and engaged as I drove along. The variety and color was stunning. Banks of bouquets. Rivers of wildflowers. A feast for the eyes, and packed with nectar and pollen for hungry insects. I wondered if the pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies, had discovered these highways and byways  on their migrations?

Orange daylillies, white daisies, foxglove, White Primrose, Purple Thistle, wild berry brambles…oh, and did I mention the miles of Black-eyed Susans?!

Image result for wild berry brambles images


Today, a new buzzword for pollinator conservation is habitat corridors.

Think Like A Bee will be working  with local beekeeper groups and the City of Albuquerque on this initiative when I return to my fair city.

Meanwhile, I was busy calling as I drove along. I found out in Northwestern Ohio that Ohio DOT has a vision to create pilot programs—experimental sections of wildflower corridors. I congratulated the Environmental Director. Seeding areas with local native varieties of wildflowers, land is allowed to lie fallow—unmowed and unsprayed.

Who is your state, local or regional Department of Transportation Director? Call and find out. Get to know them. Let them know how crucial our pollinators are and ask them to create pollinator habitat corridors in your state, town or region.

We can do this.





It’s Official! 501 C-(Bee)3

Huzzah for June 16-24, Pollinator Week! This was designated once upon a time by the U.S. Department of Interior. It was a day when top officials understood the critical importance of bees for our food and survival. See the Pollinator Partnership, largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to promoting the health of pollinators—critical to food and ecosystems— through conservation, education, and research.

Our Burque Pollinator Festival on June 16 was a success despite the rainy day! Thanks to Seth Hoffman, music maker extraordinaire, who crowned the day with his original tunes!




I celebrate the newly minted 501C3 status of Think Like A Bee! Please raise a cup, tip your hat and/or practically contribute some Honey Money to honor the work of bees.  This officially kicks off the June Fundraising campaign for us!

Here’s how we contributed to the community in 2017:

2017 Community Benefits and Outcomes


We honored Albuquerque’s status as the first Bee City USA in the southwest with a city wide party!



Goals met were increased community awareness for how they can support our new Bee City USA pollinator protection status and ongoing cooperation and education with the City of Albuquerque and neighborhoods to ensure pollinator protection. Check out Burque Bee City’s new webpage at the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division (, Also find us on Facebook


Think Like A Bee collaborated with Cornelio Candelaria Organic Farm to host a summer youth farm internship from May-August 2017. Community Benefits are future generations of youth learning about New Mexico’s long and dignified history of traditional and small scale farming, pollinator importance in food system health and food security. Students participated in local food markets and were introduced to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).



As the students worked for Cornelio Candelaria Organic Farm CSA and Think Like A Bee, they learned healthy soil composition, beekeeping 101, composting, seed saving and management, food as medicine, hoop house growing and irrigation, harvesting and marketing. Youth learned life skills including the ethics of hard work, team cooperation, discipline, persistence, courage and independent learning.

3. The Council of All Beings

The youth attended The Council of All Beings, where they made masks of animals and spoke through the voices of these silent ones to tell us humans something we need to hear for this time. The voices of wolf, sunflower, bear, cat, deer and so many others were profound and from the heart.



Youth acquiring very practical skills of beekeeping and pollinator’s keystone importance in our food system as well as habitat for bees. They were able to learn how to sustain a healthy food system, from farm to table and all the steps needed, including pollination, healthy habitat and animal husbandry. The program was duplicated with friends and family of the youth who were invited to a final awards/graduation ceremony. Youth from the program shared their experience, gaining self esteem and merit. Goals for our programs were met as Think Like A Bee was able to help provide ten youth a summer stipend. Ten more youth without nature deficit. Ten youth who didn’t sit in front of their screens all summer. Ten youth who had an amazing hands on experience and made new friends across cultural boundaries and language.

2018-19 GOALS

Think Like a Bee will be collaborating with other Bee organizations, Parks and Rec, City Council, Albuquerque Neighborhoods and partners dedicated to habitat/wildlife corridors and preservation

We want to embed best pollinator practices in our city’s communities and build Neighborhood coalitions for bee habitat. We will continue to educate in schools, with youth and children and civic organizations to increase pollinator protection and food security.


We are happy to be the recipient of a grant to create a Rio Grande Watershed documentary with youth interviewing land based elders. We are exploring a very exciting collaborative opportunity with the UNM Taos Digital Media Arts (DMA) to record the stories of New Mexico’s treasured farming and landbased communities for future posterity.


For contributions to our 2018-2019 projects, checks can be sent to Think Like a Bee, c/o 410 Morningside Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108

OR Click on our website, Think Like a Bee, to donate by credit card.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Thank you for your incredible support. Hive mind at work!


Think Like a Bee is a 501C3, tax exempt organization.




It just so happens….


…that sometimes two parallel worlds that we live in converge, collide, intersect or dove- tail nicely. That happened to me with the coming together of my work in the beeyard and the writing of my newly released book entitled, “Soul Tending: Journey into the Heart of Sabbath”.

I keep bees on the fly, blog by night, write whenever I have the chance, work as a chaplain during the week.  Rarely have the twain come together. Until Soul Tending.

I was given an amazing opportunity to live and write at Collegeville Institute for almost 4 months in 2016.  I originally went there to write my “bee book”. I ended up completing an old manuscript on Sabbath Keeping. It just so happens that the campus of St. Johns College and the Benedictine Monastery next door were rife with bee symbols and real hives. I deepened into the myths and stories associated with bees. Resurrection. Healing. Community as the Hive Mind.

I felt the bees with me, though I was far, far away from my beeyards. They wove their wisdom and the secret life of the hive into my manuscript. Even as they lay dormant, bees were my muse and teachers as I explored ‘Sabbath Mind’ in the frigid, white north of Minnesota.

Sabbath mind cleaves to simplicity. It hungers for it and seeks a simpler life, as a pearl of great price…We must loosen our grip on the daily diet of frantic overwhelm that we have come to think of as normal in our society. We must simplify our mind and life. (Soul Tending: Journey into the Heart of Sabbath, 11)


Bees are single minded. Though they are complex super organisms, they work in one accord. Though they vibrate individually at an alarming speed, when they work together in the hive, they are focused, slow, methodical, with a constant, quiet hum. Their common task is almost imperceptible until suddenly hangs a shining, luminous, white comb.


Here’s what I wrote about the bees and the slow heartbeat of the natural world in the chapter entitled, “Creation as Sabbath Companion: Divine Presence Everywhere”…

Sabbath keeping is like that bee space… a space that required me to learn with a beginners mind. The bee space became an oasis of reciprocity, of the generosity of the creaturely world, so easily missed in a society moving at breakneck speed. When I truly wanted or needed to enter Sabbath mind, I could go into the hive. If I entered slowly, with contemplative mindfulness, following the procedures that honor one’s coming—sending a smoke signal, moving slowly, not harming or squashing their sisters(yes, all the worker bees are female)…doing one’s business quickly and with increasing skill—I was allowed entry unharmed…when I was rushed, anxious, uncertain, and did not take the time to follow the guidelines that honored my bees, they mirrored back to me my own interior landscape—with less than pleasant consequences…they drew me into Sabbath time. Slowing me down… (Soul Tending, Journey Into the Heart of Sabbath, 37)

Thank you Collegeville, for allowing me to bring my worlds together!

I have yet to write that bee book…



Unexpected gift

Sometimes life hands you an unexpected gift. When it does, you may not recognize it as such at the beginning. You might even wonder if it is a gift.

Miraculously I was handed such a gift in the summer of 2017. Hanging out at the Farm where my bees are kept, it was the end of another very long day with our young farm interns. A young man showed up who clearly knew Lorenzo, the farmer. They greeted one another warmly, exchanged conversation, then Lorenzo beckoned me over.

He introduced me to Aidan, a young student at Amy Biehl High School—a charter school whose focus is based upon community service. Below is a short bio of this remarkable young woman’s life. Students at this school model their lives after her selfless service.

Amy Elizabeth Biehl (April 26, 1967 – August 25, 1993) was a white American graduate of Stanford University and an Anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa who was murdered by black Cape Town residents while a black mob shouted anti-white slurs. The four men convicted of her murder were released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Wikipedia)

Aidan wanted to do his senior project on bees and beekeeping. Lorenzo wondered whether I would be a bee mentor.

And so, we embarked upon a year together in the beeyard. At first, I may have been cautious to take on another student, wondering if I would have enough time and energy after the summer. But over time, it became clear that the payoffs outweighed any cons.

Aidan is smart, respectful, curious, and has made work in the beeyard so much easier and more fun for my 55 year old body! He began by doing what a good Buddhist teacher would call “Chop wood, carry water”. An apprentice to any practice or discipline must first do the hard work of keeping the fires going, food cooked, plates cleaned. Mastering the basics is a good foundation for grounding one’s higher aspirations of a spiritual path.

Knowledge acquisition, as in any spiritual path must be balanced with physical practice, or it just becomes a head trip. Aidan knows this well. He loves hands-on projects and excelled quickly in anything that would keep him engaged in the hive—from starting the smoker, to examining bars of comb, looking for the queen, feeding bees, cleaning hives, burning old diseased comb, carrying tools. He did it all.

For his final senior project, he chronicled his year of beekeeping…

Thank you Aidan, for a most excellent year of learning and bee support. Good luck on your way to New Mexico Tech and all the best in your endeavors. The world is awaiting your creative, intelligent, thoughtful and conscientious leadership.

You have learned to think like a bee, my friend. I will miss you in the beeyard.

Think Like a Bee…SuperOrganism

Last week I attended the ABQ Beeks meeting, thronging with new and returning beekeepers. We heard about the nasties—varroa mites and American Foulbrood— by a special speaker. At the end of the presentation, he referred to honeybees as “livestock. My hackles went up.

Image result for industrial beekeeping images


The rise of industrial beekeeping, with the massive migration of hives around the country for pollination services, has contributed to the diseases and disservices we visit upon bees. Not only philosophically, how we think about them as “livestock”, but how we practice beekeeping. Most of their ailments are associated with crowding hives in the beeyard, trucking hives around the country, importation of new apis varieties that colonize native bees, bringing pestilence and disease and imposing chemicals that are harsh and toxic—a “thousand little cuts” according to Mark Winston, bee researcher/author.

Image result for industrial beekeeping images

In a brief conversation with my bee student after the meeting, I wondered aloud if it was helpful to see honeybees as livestock. Does it diminish this wild creature and draw us away from exploring their nature as a super organism?  My student chimed in…”And it’s an insect”, indicating how very different this species is from humans. And yet, how alike we are as well.  Superorganism, human, insect, fowl, fourfooted, finned—we all need clean air, water, food. We all need community.

In The Super Organism: The Beauty, Elegance and Strangeness of Insect Societies, Burt Holldobler and E.O. Wilson, Pulitizer Prize winning ant researchers, laid out the “extraordinary lives of social insects…these superorganisms—a tightly knit colony of individuals, formed by altruistic cooperation, complex communication, and division of labor”.

Image result for super organism, EO wilson image

Thomas Seeley, bee researcher and head of the Department of Neurobiology at Cornell University, writes in his book, Honeybee Democracy, about the similarities between the neurons of a human brain and the inner workings of the whole hive collectively:

We will see that the 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds) of bees in a honeybee swarm, just like the 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds) of neurons in a human brain, achieve their collective wisdom by organizing themselves in such a way that even though each individual has limited information and limited intelligence, the group as a whole makes first-rate collective… A colony of honeybees is, then, far more than an aggregation of individuals, it is a composite being that functions as an integrated whole…Indeed, one can accurately think of a honeybee colony as a single living entity, weighing as much as 5 kilograms (10 pounds) and performing all of the basic physiological processes that support life: ingesting and digesting food, maintaining nutritional balance, circulating resources, exchanging respiratory gases, regulating water content, controlling body temperature, sensing the environment, deciding how to behave, and achieving locomotion. (David Dobbs, Science, 12-27-11)

How can we even imagine how to properly take care of a bee unless we learn to “think like a bee” (which in itself might just be arrogant hubris)—-or at least try more and more to attune to it’s true nature and needs, rather than superimposing our human will on bees for convenience, profit, pleasure and ignorance.


I was glad, in that moment, that my bee student had hung out long enough with me to understand what I hope to convey to future generations…a whole different lens by which to understand creaturely bee-ings of which we only play at stewarding and “keeping”. Truly, they have so much to teach us if we only would pay attention. listen. learn.

At the end of our Bee Meeting, we had a panel of beekeepers talking about the variety of ways they address the disaster of varroa mites in their hives. It ranged from “soft” treatments of essential oils, formic and oxalic acid…to other non-chemical ways of treating bees such as splitting colonies, the “sugar roll”, rotating old, dark brood comb out, and brood breaks.

I wondered if my approach of experimenting with essential oil was seen as “non scientific” and not-credible to some‚ though I cited varroa mite research from University of West Virginia and The University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. I’ve learned that essential oils such as oregano, spearmint, wintergreen, tea tree, thymol, are full of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-pest compounds that can support bees in strengthening their collective immune system, while killing mites in the brood. Herbs being an integral part of bee’s landscape, we can we capitalize on what they already harvest, or is native to their food system? It is less expensive than chemicals and yes, it takes some experimenting.

Image result for herb images

For me, to Think Like A Bee, is to ask, “what is the bees natural habitat?” and “What will be least toxic? How can I give them good health care without exposing them to harsh and intolerable living conditions?”  It’s their home and their hive that I am exploiting in order to reap the rewards of their work.

We humans have much to admire in the the superorganism world.

And much to learn.



The Tiny Mite Problem…

Image result for warning images

WARNING: This will not be the most pleasant and cheerful of bee blog posts….I must talk about the ugly but important reality. I cannot deny it.

Like the current state of politics in this country…deny to your detriment.

This is the reality. Beekeepers are finding out that we can no longer ignore varroa mites in our hives. It’s not a good idea to pretend they are not there.  Or imagine the beehives will pull through without some intervention.

Sadly, it’s not like the days when great grandpa kept bees. That was a bygone time when the mysteries of the bee world— their hive secrets and intimate life—were not constantly tampered with. They were left mostly to their own devices. The hives ebbed at times, but mostly flowed prolifically, rewarding their keeper with honey—generous  and abundant every summer. Grandpa did not need to pay them much attention(or so I’ve heard) til it was time to move them or steal their honey.

Image result for beehive images
Image result for beehive images

I took up beekeeping with rosy pictures in my mind of pastoral scenes filled with beehives. I did not plan to take care of them every single day. I did not want more domesticated animals that I must feed, water, vaccinate and clean their toilets and homes. For me, bees were a vestige of the wild with which humans could still interact.  It was exhilarating to learn about them, observe and care for them without needing to perseverate about their diseases or bowel movements or babies.

And then came the mites.

Image result for images of varroa mites


These days, to me, beekeeping seems much more domesticated. I must test them, treat them, clean out their piles of dead colleagues, keep an eagle eye on their patterns and habits. Like the medieval bubonic plague. Like the AIDS of the apis world. Like the deadly flu that never goes away. You must pay attention. All. The. Time.

If you have mites and do not test and treat, your bees will die. If not now, in the dearths of late summer, fall or winter when then are weakened.

Image result for images of varroa mites

According to bee researcher Dr. Thomas Seeley,  in his presentation “Tracking the Wild Honeybee”, he found that feral honeybees are naturally selecting for genetics that will keep mites at bay. Or at least, only a minor scourge that they can survive.

Until bees, like humans, figure out how to overcome and adapt to diseases that sicken and decimate their populations—such as the human measles, mumps, polio, smallpox, AIDS, Spanish flu—we either let them collapse and let the genetics of the remnant rise like a phoenix out of the ashes, or we help them along.

Image result for beehive images

Ok. Enough of the dire news. The good news is that we no longer have to burn our hives if they have mites. Though it was once mandated by agricultural extensions and universities, desperate to stamp out the mites by a scorched earth policy.

So, I try to support my bees without using the heavy artillery—which is hard on them. Like chemotherapy, sometimes the cure can be more deadly than the disease.

I try to do a hybrid of natural selection, re-queening, and a beehive cleanse and immune strengthener. These essential oil remedies seem to have helped at least 5 of my hives survive the mites this past winter. I use it 2-3 X before winter sets in or as the Spring buildup begins—just to knock the mites back—and let the girls do the rest of the heavy lifting.

Here’s two recipes:

Essential Oil beehive cleanse

1 quart of water

2 tsp tea tree oil

1 tsp wintergreen

2-3 drops lemongrass

Mix for 5 minutes at low speed to emulsify.

Add 1 cup of mixture to boiled sugar water (1:1 sugar/water) and feed

Oregano oil beehive cleanse

2 cups of boiled sugar water (1:1 sugar/water)

1 drop of food grade oregano

Mix and feed.

Related image

Bon appetit, bees!

Meanwhile, what does bee-think teach me about the ugly reality of politics in this country today?

It’s possible to overcome destroyers, but it takes great resilience, adaptability and persistence. We cannot go to sleep. We must remain vigilant and awake.  We must help one another stay strong.




Spring Solstice and Bee Trees

Bee friends. Forgive me for being away so long. I’ve been on the road and distracted by many things. As I pondered what to write today, I decided to use an article that came to me from a friend. As you can imagine, I collect random tidbits about bees. Friends and family email me, stuff my hands with bee magazine and newspaper articles and fill my snail mailbox with all sorts of bee related news and trivia. Thank you everyone! I learn all kinds of fascinating things about bees from you, and I like to pass it along in Think Like a Bee.

Now that Spring Equinox is right around the corner—Tuesday, March 20 to be exact— I want to get down to business. It’s time to talk about TREES, the gold star of all Spring bee forage.

Tree New Mexico provides a fabulous compendium on the importance of planting flowering trees, since they provide gobs of nectar food for hungry bees coming out of   winter dormancy. Check with your local Master Gardeners club, County Cooperative Extension or local nursery for best tree varieties in your location, climate and elevation.

According to Tree NM, natives and native cultivars work best “and any tree will need supplemental watering for – at least – the first 2-3 years. Be patient and keep in mind the old adage “Sleep, Creep, Leap.” It well-describes the first 3 years of a newly planted tree.


Image result for bees and trees images


Thanks to Heather Harrell and Les Crowder’s Top-Bar Beekeeping (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012) for the following high desert trees—though you in far flung, greener places will also recognize trees below that suit your region:

Fruit Trees – How great is this? Honeybees love the nectar and pollen while they increase fruit set and we get to enjoy the result! Apples, cherries and plums are especially favored by bees. Be advised that ornamental fruit trees are mostly self-pollinating and are therefore less attractive to honeybees while heirloom or native fruits are very attractive.

Willow (Salix sp.) – Many species are New Mexico natives. As early bloomers, willows are very important as a spring source of pollen. Willows have added value for wind and visual screening; basketry material; and some add particular visual interest due to form or bark color.

Image result for desert willow tree images

Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa– Yes, that one! This bane of ranchers produces some of the best light and fragrant honey on the planet and beautiful, hard wood.  As another early source of pollen, the bees really appreciate it. It is a relative of the New Mexico Locust (Robinia neomexicana) and other locust varieties also known to be great bee trees. All are in the pea family, so they fix nitrogen and build soils.

Honey Mesquite

Catalpa (Catalpa sp.– Catalpa trees have very large leaves and have the potential to be large shade trees. While they are great bee trees, they do not typically fare well in the desert Southwest without ongoing supplemental water. And even then they may exhibit defoliation from heat stress.

Image result for catalpa tree image

Linden (Tilia sp.) – Lindens bloom in midsummer, so they are an important nectar bridge during the hottest months and may be an emergency food source if spring blooms are lost to late frosts. Makes wonderful rich honey.

Image result for linden tree image

Bee Bee Tree (Tetradium danielli) – The name says it all. Bees LOVE this tree. Another midsummer bloomer, it is also called the Korean Evodia tree.


Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum) – small white flowers attract bees to this small shrubby maple, winged seeds helicopter to the ground a little later. One cultivar in particular (Hotwings®) with red seeds and red fall foliage was developed for alkaline soils of the Rocky Mountain west.

Tatarian Maple

Japanese Pagoda (Sophora japonica) – Japanese Pagoda trees are especially valuable to honeybees in mid to late summer when little else is blooming. Profuse white blossoms make it an attractive tree for the home landscape as well.

Other trees – Les mentions tulip poplars and ash trees as important additional forage trees for bees….

Image result for tulip poplar images

Happy Spring tree planting!


Good bee news (for once)

PARIS (Reuters) – A French court suspended on Friday the license for two pesticides made by Dow Chemical, citing uncertainty over environmental risks including their effects on bees.

Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.?

In another amazing citizen triumph, the Australians demanded the end to neonicotinoids, a major bee killing chemical used in agriculture and found in many over the counter insecticides at your local plant nurseries.


Research suggests neonicotinoids impair bees’ ability to remember how to return to the colony. Photo: Getty

 “Having a beautiful garden is a luxury. Bees are not. They are essential”, stated Dr. Katja Hogendoorn of Adelaida, Australia, who researches behavioral ecology and evolution of native bees. “There is no doubt that pesticides often kill bees”.

Research in recent years has found that even small amounts of this ingredient [neonicotinoids] can be harmful to bees, shutting down their brains.

The chemicals impaired bees’ ability to remember how to return to the colony and to connect the scent of a flower to a food reward (pollen).

Other research has suggested exposure to neonicotinoids causes lower reproductive success and leads to bees dying sooner than they otherwise would.



These days I am more concerned than ever about chemicals and the effects they have on all life forms, including humans. In an era where the EPA is quietly being rendered impotent, it is time for citizens to become informed and demand healthy alternatives. As blocks of consumers, we have incredible clout. Some safe alternatives to pests include bio-solutions of beneficial insects, soaps, bt, sulphur and oils. Research it. Boycott chemicals.

It’s time to evolve as human beings—to a safe, chemical free world—even as Dow, Bayer and Monsanto sell our earth out for profiteering and their bottom lines.

We are all one in the web of life.