The Birds and the Bees

Help the Cape honey bee by planting colourful, scented flowers and herbs. And, as an added bonus, these plants will attract birdlife too. We also list some unusual home remedies for bee stings courtesy of Greg Aberdeen of Bee Kind .

Pick up a copy of the October issue of Good Taste  for our full report on the Cape honey bee crisis in the Western Cape; and what you can do for the cause.

Buzzing bees are a sure-sign of a thriving garden. Planting certain flowers and herbs to  encourage growth in the honey bee population—plus it will be good for your vegetable garden too.

Five tips for attracting pollinators

1.Choose native and endemic wildflowers, flowering herbs, berries flowering fruits and vegetables.
2. Group the same plants together. Try and plant many of the same kind of plant in one area.
3. Pick plants with long blooming cycles, or ones with successive blooms. 
4. Provide a fresh water source; from shallow bowls scattered arond the garden, to a dripping hose pipe, or put stones in a bird bath so that it's not too deep.
5. Don't use any chemicals in your gardening. You run the risk of poisoning the bees.

Greg Aberdeen shares some home remedies for bee stings

1. Honey. A degree of irony resides in this bee sting remedy since honey comes from bees, but honey is excellent for healing wounds. Apply a small dab of honey to the wound and cover with gauze for 30 minutes to one hour. (If a person is allergic to bees or honey, do not use this remedy.)

2. Lavender essential oil. Add one or two drops of lavender essential oil to the wound. Lavender oil will help neutralise the venom immediately.
3. Crushed garlic. Crush one or two garlic cloves to release the juices and press it against the wound. Cover with a moist towel and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Baking soda and vinegar. Make a paste using baking soda, a dab of vinegar and water and apply it to the wound for 30 minutes. Baking soda and vinegar helps neutralise the acid found in bee stings.
5. Toothpaste. Like baking soda, toothpaste is a base that will help neutralise the acidic bee sting, thereby reducing pain and swelling. Apply the toothpaste to the wound for 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Meat tenderiser. Make a paste using meat tenderiser and water and apply it to the wound for 20 minutes.