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Author Topic: General Lawncare and Honeybees  (Read 2099 times)
The Bix
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« on: May 10, 2009, 11:19:32 AM »

Hi everyone, my beehive is located in my neighborhood which is a small community of about 50 houses each on ~2 acre lots with farmland about a mile to the south and civilization (tightly packed houses) to the north east and west.  I sprayed the dandelions and other weeds in my yard about 3 weeks ago before the bees arrived and I need to hit them again, but was curious whether you all think that's a bad idea.  This is my first season with the bees and I'd like to get input on how my lawncare should change, if at all.
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2009, 11:34:41 AM »

The more wild flowers the better.  The less use of chemicals the better.
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ccwonka
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2009, 11:43:46 AM »

As I develop bare spots in my lawn any more, I replace it with clover.  It stays green and the bees and deer both love the flowers.  Not exactly what the neighbors want to see in a bermuda lawn, but we're W-A-Y out of the neighbors sight, so for us it works.

What's best for the bees is weeds and no mowing or chemicals at all, but going that extreme is typically not an option.  On the other end is spraying your yard for everything at every opportunity, having no flowering weeds anywhere, and keepin it trimmed to the 1-1/4 inches to 1-7/8 inches that the homeowners association allows . . . well, you get the idea . . . .

The final answer is going to be, what are you comfortable with.  Your bees will not die out because you sprayed your dandelions.  Woud it be better for them if you didn't?  Of course.  But what amount of sacrifice to your lawn's aesthetic are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of the bees?  In the end it's a personal choice, and odds are, your bees won't know the difference as long as there's that good farmland within a mile (unless he sprays, too!!!).

On the practical application of lawn care though- If you can, use SPOT treatments only, and try to use them at times that the bees are not flying (dusk is best, though for some weed killers that will not work).
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vermmy35
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2009, 12:27:46 PM »

well my neighbors and a city park have the dandelions covered for me so I just pull them with a weed puller that I bought at Homedepot a few years ago.  I have always tried to use as little chemicals as possible after me and the wife found out our son has Autism.
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shaux
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 01:49:30 PM »

I heard this somewhere not sure if it'll work or if it'll be considered chemical free, but mix up some vinegar and water and spray the weeds.  If it does work is much cheaper than going out and buying weed b gon.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2009, 03:29:23 PM »

Use products that serve your purpose but break down rapidly. Closing your bees up for a day or two if necessary won't hurt them as long as they have ventilation.


...JP
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jdesq
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 03:30:19 PM »

I always sprayed for weeds in my lawn and had the perfect yard. I got my  bees about 6 years ago and did okay but not much honey. 3 years ago I quit spraying( I have 5 acres) and now I have more honey than I know what to do with. Bees are doing great! Now I love the way dandelions look and would not spray chemicals for many different reasons.
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NasalSponge
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2009, 03:37:20 PM »

I quit spraying the backyard this year due to the bees.
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patook
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2009, 04:13:50 PM »

What exactly do you mean by "sprayed for dandelion"?

When we go to parks, my kids collect dandelion seeds to spread them over my yard. Is that what you mean?? Wink
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2009, 04:56:50 PM »

The more wild flowers the better.  The less use of chemicals the better.

Exactly.  Listen to this advise.

This year I even made sure the dandelions went to seed just to make sure they'd have even more in the fall and next year in my yard and the neighbors' yards.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 05:00:30 PM »

I heard this somewhere not sure if it'll work or if it'll be considered chemical free, but mix up some vinegar and water and spray the weeds.  If it does work is much cheaper than going out and buying weed b gon.

It works, but an even simpler solution is to pour hot water over them (near boiling).  But of course, letting the bees have more to forage from is still better.
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The Bix
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2009, 05:48:39 PM »

I think I'll spot spray my yard and throw dandelion seeds in my neighbors' yards.  Wink
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Natalie
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2009, 07:22:49 PM »

If you have kids you can pay them for each weed they dig up. I pay my kids by the pail full.
I don't use any chemicals anywhere, I am never really sure how safe they are and I am too lazy to bother to investigate.
I do faithfully rip any weeds out in my flower and vegetable gardens but as far as the lawn goes, I just don't care much, the kids love them and think they are the best flowers in the whole wide world.
I get all these nice dandelion bouquets from them all summer.
I really hate digging up those type of weeds, they don't just pull up like regular weeds so I leave them or pay the kids to do it.
I just saw a recipe the other day for dandelion salad and some type of sauteed dandelions, I think I'll pass for now but its always an option grin

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2009, 07:24:35 PM »

I've been planting dandelions in my yard for the last 35 years... I've NEVER sprayed them.
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The Bix
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2009, 11:18:44 PM »

Natalie, I don't have kids.  I have those teenager things.

--Bix
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Natalie
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2009, 11:20:38 PM »

Oh yeah, those ones are no good...  for this.   Wink
I have 4 of those myself, ya gotta have the little ones for a job like this.
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qa33010
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2009, 11:58:07 PM »

   I have only a spit of land (you can spit from one end to the other and across) but it's covered in early spring with bees on the frontyard on henbit and carolina beauty flowers.  Then the front lawn gets mowed after the blooms die off.  The backyard has clover and vetch.  We have a city ordinance of 18" of lawn growth unless it is a flower bed and fence limitations.  So we throw up some wood boards and we have raised 'flower' beds and the vetch is being 'used' to help with ammending the soil naturally.  Hollies make a great fence and even though it isn't much of anything I figure every little bit helps.
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annette
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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2009, 12:48:43 AM »

The property where I keep my bees is beautiful acres and acres of wildflowers. This year because we had so much rain, I am seeing like a pink clover all over the place. Being a beekeeper has changed my view of what is beautiful. Previously I would have liked  to see the fields all mowed and manicured, but now it gives me great pleasure to see my bees all over the darn place on all the loveley flowers. I do not want to mow at all right now while the flowers are still blooming.  See we have a natural drought here, so soon everything will dry up anyway.  then I can mow.

I hate the chemicals that people use to spray for weeds and just in general I hate chemicals. With that said, if you feel you must, well do what you must.

Be careful spraying during the day when the foragers are out or when it is windy.

Just follow what all the experienced beekeepers here have told you.

Annette from soon to be dryed up Placerville California
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TimLa
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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2009, 01:28:26 AM »

The vinegar treatment works fine - but you still have to pull them out.

We haven't used chemicals here in ten years, yes there are weeds, but it's not that bad.

We have (by necessity) sprayed a lot of Roundup at customer sites, as it's relatively benign, and the alternative is weeding many acres of lawn-to-be.

-T
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The Bix
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2009, 09:37:28 AM »

What about general fertilizer for lawns?  I laid down some fertilizer over the weekend, it is organic based stuff, made from dehydrated poultry waste (chicken doodoo).  Doesn't smell very good either.  Should I assume that because it is organically based that it's probably ok for the bees?  What about the other stuff that is commonly used as fertilizers for lawns?
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