Our Russian Bees
As our planting rotation evolves we continue to add different crops to increase diversity and build soil health. This year with the addition of peas and the reintroduction of sunflowers it became obvious that adding bees to our farm is just the next logical step. After much research and deliberation we decided that the strain of bees that are referred to as Russian bees seemed most appropriate.
The decline of honey bees is well documented and here at the farm we work hard to find the sustainable solutions that increase the health of the world around us. The combination of field peas and sunflowers provide flowering at different times of the year, and sunflowers, with their blooming in August is especially beneficial. As we add crops one of the things that we take in consideration is time of year they bloom. Northeast Colorado is a hard place for bees, with the temperature extremes and relatively dry conditions it is a challenge for hives to thrive. That is one advantage to sunflowers, they are one of the few crops that bloom in August and they are very bee friendly. We raise the oil type as they are much less likely to have insect issues and it has been found that bees yield more honey from them as well.
We are excited about the future of our farm and how the bees' role in it will add not only to the profitability but more importantly to the overall health of the soil and air. With the addition of the bees we are looking at more flowering crops, the first being garbanzo beans. These crops add to the diversity and to the soil health. We have also started looking at setting aside strips around each field that will be seeded to flowering plants chosen because they attract beneficial insects. The one that we are really excited about is to dedicate some cropland to lavender production. This would also allow us to add some health and beauty products in addition to the local honey that we offer.