Yes, I’m back to talk about bugs again–sort of. You see, it’s very fashionable to talk about “The Plight of the Honeybees” and “Saving the Monarchs” (and yes, those are actual campaigns that are begin with capital letters!)
But when the average gardener goes to the garden center to buy plants and is told that she needs nectar plants for butterflies, that’s a whole lot less sexy.
Or perish the thought we actually plant for bees, you know, because bees sting, don’t they? And we don’t want to attract those nasty stinging creatures near our homes! EEK!
Well, guess what folks! If we don’t stop this silly mindset of saying one thing and doing something else, we won’t have to worry about whether a caterpillar might chew on a precious leaf of something of ours or a bee might come too close to one of us (and please–I do know that some folks have legitimate allergies to stings. I in no way intend to minimize that serious threat.)
But for the vast majority who have never been harmed (other than temporarily) by a sting, please stop acting as if bees pose a serious threat to you. They do not and the less you act as if they do, the less the insects will be interested in you. You need to trust me on this. I worked out-of-doors, among plants for 8 years. I have more experience that you will ever have.
I have carried all sorts of plants for customers, sometimes still laden with all sorts of bees, to cash registers and to their cars. I have gently shoo’d bees away before shutting plants into cars so that the bees wouldn’t get into the cars and the customers wouldn’t be terrorized. I have deliberated picked up plants full of bees to demonstrate to mothers and their children that bees are more interested in gathering pollen than they are in stinging. Bees have jobs–just like we do, oddly enough.
I’ll talk about caterpillars and why we don’t just want to squash those on sight on Monday. But for now, please remember: don’t swat at the bees, don’t wave your arms like you’re trying to signal a 747–in short, just try to act naturally if a bee is in your vicinity. I pretty much promise you it’s going to take a look and fly off to its important work of finding nectar and pollen!