Jan 09

Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

There is nothing more beautiful than a vase overflowing with beautiful flowers. A fresh bouquet can cheer up any space and leave a lasting impression. You’ll want to enjoy them for as long as possible, but the sad truth is that flowers don’t last forever. You may be discouraged when your flowers start to wilt after a few days. If you’re looking for a way to make those Valentine’s Day roses, graduation bouquet, or anniversary arrangements stay fresh and perky for a few more days, here are a few tips.

Cut the Stems/Pruning

A big mistake people make when receiving flowers is forgetting to cut the stems. Flowers have a vascular system in their stems that draws up water and nutrients to feed the blooms. If you don’t cut them, air that is drawn up into the stems while they are out of water can block water absorption. Use very sharp scissors or pruning shears to trim one to two inches off and cut at an angle. The angle helps for better water intake because the flowers are not sitting flat on the bottom of the vase. Once cut, remove any leaves below the water line to prevent bacterial growth. You’ll also want to remove guard petals, which are the two or three outermost petals of flowers like roses. Removing them helps your flower open up fully. After your initial prep, check your flowers daily for dead or loose leaves and petals in order to avoid bacterial rot.

Water

One of the most important things you can do for your flowers is to keep them hydrated. Your cut flowers won’t last long without water, especially when their stems have been cut. Use a clean vase and fill it with water. Arrange your bouquet, then cut the stems and place them in water. Clean your vase thoroughly and change the water every two to three days. Watch the water temperature that you put your flowers in. Hot water will cook them, so room temperature is best for most flowers. The exception is flowers that bloom during the cooler months, like anemones, daffodils, and tulips, which will do better in water that is below room temperature.

Placement

Just like hot water will hurt your flowers, so will heat. Place your arrangements in cool spots, away from appliances that generate heat. Another thing to avoid; direct sunlight. While your flowers need a little bit of sunlight, it actually isn’t as beneficial once they aren’t actively growing anymore. Plus, direct sunlight tends to be hot and the extra heat will hurt your flowers more than the sun will benefit them. The water will deplete quicker and the petals vibrant colors will fade as well. You should also avoid placing them need open windows, vents, and ceiling fans as they can cause the flowers to dehydrate quickly. But don’t put them near your fruit bowl either. Ripening fruit releases tiny amounts of ethylene gas, which reduces the longevity of your fresh arrangement.

Flower Food

You may have noticed those little packets that come with floral arrangements. They keep flowers fresh because they contain sugar to provide nourishment, citric acid to keep the pH acidic, which helps water move up the stems faster, and antibacterial powder. You only get one packet, so what do you do when you use it all up and have to change your water? Make your own! Mix together a few drops of bleach or vodka to use as an antibacterial. Then add a few drops of clear soda or superfine sugar to feed the flowers and add a vitamin c tablet to lower the pH. People also swear by things like pennies, aspirin, and hairspray to keep their flowers fresh. Experiment and find out what works best for you!


Stop by Bengert Greenhouses for all of your special occasion flowers. Our greenhouses have been family owned and operated for over 60 years. We pride ourselves on growing outstanding quality flowering plants. Located right in West Seneca, New York, we are situated perfectly to service the entire Western New York region.

Dec 12

Reblooming Holiday Poinsettias

With the holiday’s approaching, you may be thinking about getting one of the most popular holiday flowers. The poinsettia’s familiar red color (and other flashier colors) have decorated homes for decades. In addition to their general care, you may wonder what to do with your plant once the holidays are over. Caring for your poinsettia so that they will bloom year after year is a tricky process. For those who are undaunted by the task, here are a few tips for helping your poinsettias rebloom come next year.

Caring for your Poinsettia

Did you know that poinsettias are forced to bloom during this time of year? Because of this, they need some extra care. When you bring your poinsettia home, place it near a sunny window. Poinsettias are tropicals and love light, so a south, east, or west facing window is preferable. To keep them in bloom, maintain a temperature of 65-75 degrees F. during the day. Cold drafts or allowing the leaves to touch a cold window will cause premature leaf drop, leaving you with a couple sad looking leaves hanging on. As for water, water the plant whenever the surface feels dry to the touch. Then water until it drains out the bottom, but do not let the plant sit in water. How often you water depends on the humidity of your home. If your home tends to be dry, you may have to water every day. 

After Christmas Care

Bringing your poinsettia back into bloom requires meticulous care on a rigid schedule. Here is a sample schedule of how to rebloom your poinsettias for the next year.

Winter/Spring

Houseplant

After the holidays, you have a choice on whether you want to maintain your poinsettia as a houseplant or in a dormant state. As a houseplant, keep watering the poinsettia whenever the surface is dry. Keep it at the sunniest window and feed it with fertilizer about every two weeks. Starting April 1, gradually decrease waterings, but be careful that the stem doesn’t shrivel. That is a sign that the plant is stressed or dying. When the plant is used to the drying process, move it to a cool spot and keep it at about 60º F. At this time you can also prune the plant to 6-8 inches tall. In May, cut the stems back to 4 inches and repot it in a larger container with new potting soil. Place the plant in a sunny window and keep it between 65 and 70º F. Continue watering when the surface of the soil feels dry and watch for new growth. When new growth appears, begin fertilizing again.

Dormant

If you decide to keep your plant dormant, place it in an area with minimal light and reduce water until the leaves dry off. Keep the plant in an area with minimal light that has a  temperature between 55-60º. In late March/early April, cut the plant back to 3-5 inches tall and repot it in a larger container and use good, porous, professional potting soil to keep the roots healthy. Water well and start using fertilizer when new growth begins.

Summer

In June, move all poinsettias outside. You’ll want to take advantage of the higher light levels. Place them where they will receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sun daily. Protect them from the hottest afternoon sun if they are on a reflective surface. You don’t have to do this if your plants are in a garden bed. If you want to sink your pots into the ground, remember to turn the pots or lift them to prevent the plants from rooting out through the drainage holes. In June or July, increase your fertilizer schedule to weekly. Then in July, pinch each stem by about an inch. This encourages a stout, well-branched plant. If left unpinched, the poinsettia will grow tall and spindly. In August, the stems should have branched and leafed out. Pinch or cut the new stems leaving 3-4 leaves on each shoot.

Fall:

When the night temperatures start to dip into the 50s, bring your plants inside.  Place them back in your sunniest window and continue to water and fertilize regularly. Poinsettias are short-day plants, meaning their bud set is affected by the length of daylight. They will need about 10 weeks with 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. These conditions need to be artificially controlled in order for your poinsettias to bloom when you want them too. Keep your plant in darkness from 5 pm to 8 am. Any exposure to light, even though a crack or the opening and closing of a door, will delay blooming. During the day, place your plant back in the sunny window and continue watering and fertilizing. The dark/light schedule can stop the last week of November. Simply allow the plant to stay in the window and you should see flower buds at this point. On December 15, stop fertilizing. but keep watering and treat your plant like you did when you first brought it home. If all went well, your plant should have rebloomed and is ready to begin the process over again.


Tis the season! At Bengert Greenhouses we offer holiday poinsettias and holiday wreaths in a variety of colors and sizes. Let us find the perfect Christmas flowers to accent your home! Gorgeous Christmas flowers also make great Christmas gifts for moms, grandmothers, and friends. Send the gift of beauty to everyone you love.

Nov 07

Behind the Tradition: Holly and Ivy

Holly and icy are familiar, though understated, holiday plants. Used to adorn homes during the winter and holiday season, holly and ivy have been a staple in homes since long before the birth of Christianity. In modern days, we use holly and ivy as decorative accents in our homes to freshen the air and add cheerful spots of color in the cold, dark days of winter.

A Pre-Christian Tradition

Holly (Ilex) and ivy (Hedera helix) have been used since ancient times. With the weather during cold and dark, many varieties of holly and ivy were found to have remained green year round. Because of this, holly and ivy signify eternal life. They are also believed to have magical properties. In many ancient cultures, the icy winds of winter were believed to be ghosts and demons. Decorating with holly and ivy was thought to ward of evil spirits. In J.K. Rowling’s series, Harry Potter’s wand is made of holly because of its associations with repelling evil.

Holly:

Holly and Ivy have been used as decoration way back in Roman times. Holly, in particular, considered as an omen of good fortune and a symbol of immortality. Congratulatory wreaths were given to newlyweds. Holly was also given as a gift during Saturnalia because it was considered sacred to Saturn, god of agriculture and husbandry. In Norse mythology, Holly was associated with Thor, god of thunder, and plants were grown by the home to ward off lightning strikes. Early Europeans used holly as ornamentation during their winter solstice celebrations. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year and signified the gradual lengthening of days and coming spring.

Ivy:

The use of Ivy goes back thousands of years. It too symbolized eternal life, rebirth, and the spring season. In Roman times, Ivy was associated with Bacchus, the Roman equivalent of the Greek Dionysus, god of wine and intoxication. Ivy was the symbol of fidelity and marriage, often wound into a crown, wreath, or garland. It was also used as trimming in ancient festivals. For some cultures, ivy was a symbol of marriage and friendship, perhaps due to its tendency to cling. It served as a symbol and prosperity and fortune, which was adopted by early Christians, as it reminded them to help the less fortunate.

A History of Christmas Cheer

In early England, it was considered bad luck to use ivy alone in decorating for Christmas and would give the woman of the house the upper hand. It was also banished as decor by Christians due to its ability to grow in the shade, leading to an association with secrecy and debauchery. There were protests from priests who regarded the decorations as too pagan. Nevertheless, the tradition of decorating with holly and ivy was eventually accepted. The spiky leaves of Holly represented Christ’s crown of thorns and the berries represented his blood. In modern homes, holly and ivy are used in the creation of Christmas wreaths, boughs, and other trimmings. While belief in their mystical powers may have dissipated, nonetheless they remain beautiful decorations for the holiday home.

Oct 04

How to Make Your Pumpkins Last Longer

pexels-photo-209515Now that Autumn has arrived full force, it’s time to pull out all of those Fall decorations! And what is the major star of Fall? Why, the pumpkin, of course! From giant pumpkins that can weigh hundreds of pounds to miniature pumpkins that fit in the palm of your hand, there is one for every need, taste, and desire. With Halloween decor out, we can all admit that there is nothing scarier than a sunken, sad pumpkin.The traditional orange color is perfect for carving, but your decor will also benefit from other colors such as white, buff, blue-green, and scarlet. No matter the color or use, you want your pumpkins to last well into November. Put on a delightful display all season long with these tricks to extend the life of your pumpkins.

Handle with Care

The easiest way to maximize the life of your pumpkins? Keep your hands off of them! The only time you should touch them is when you pick one from the patch, when you unload it to and from your car, and when you clean it. The reasoning behind this is because the oils from your fingers can speed up the rotting process. Handling a pumpkin too aggressively can lead to unwanted cuts from your fingernails or bruises from gripping too hard. It is ideal to set your pumpkin where you want it for the season and then keep your hands off. Also, when picking up your pumpkin from the patch, don’t grip it from the stem. If you break the stem, the pumpkins life will be shorter.

Location

It is only natural to want to keep your pumpkins outside. They make a perfect addition to any porch or garden. However, if you are keeping them outside pick a dry, shaded spot. Too much hot sun will speed up the decaying process. Additionally, moisture from too much rain will lead to mold and mush, which no one wants for their festive pumpkin decor.

Cleaning

Giving your pumpkin a bath every now and then will keep its rind fresh. Mix one part bleach to ten parts water in a large container. Let your pumpkin bathe in the solution for two minutes, stirring it around to cover all sides. Once done, let your pumpkin dry completely before setting it back in its home. Pay special attention and make sure the base is dry as liquid tends to pool there. This bleach-water solution can also be used as a daily spray to keep your pumpkins healthy. Just watch where you are spraying. There are certain things, like other plants and fabrics, that will not react well to the solution.

Moisturize

We know that too much moisture will lead to mold and mush, but a proper amount of moisture is necessary to keep your pumpkins fresh for a longer period of time. Carving pumpkins is a tradition we all know and love, but it speeds up the decaying process. Oxidation happens as soon as the pumpkins are cut open, causing your pumpkins to dry out faster. When carving your pumpkin, try rubbing petroleum jelly around the carved areas of the pumpkin to keep it from drying out. you can also try the beforementioned bleach and water solution, or you can try a peppermint-based conditioning spray. You can make this with all natural peppermint soap and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Not only will your decor smell awesome but peppermint has anti-fungal properties that will keep your pumpkins soft and smooth when they begin to dry out.

Keep Pests Away

Halloween is scary enough without pests roaming around your pumpkins. Unfortunately, pumpkins are delicious and pests will want to snack on them just as much as they will your other produce. This is especially true for carved pumpkins, which are prone to fruit flies. What attracts fruit flies? Mold. The first step towards fruit fly prevention is proper pumpkin care. Make sure your carved pumpkin is completely gut-free, which lessens the chance of mold. If you have flies, trap them in an open dish of wine next to your pumpkin. Since fruit flies are attracted to fermented fruit, your wine will serve as a distraction. If you have ground lurking pests, such as ants or squirrels, keep your pumpkins off the ground. Instead get creative and set them on a windowsill or stack them on hay bales.


Looking for an awesome addition to your pumpkins? Try some autumnal flowers! Pick out yours at Bengert Greenhouses and start planning your fall decorations!

Sep 05

Fall Flowers: Mad About Mums

yellowmums

When fall arrives, it can be hard to watch all of your beautiful summer blooms die off. However, fall also brings about the star of the fall flowers: the chrysanthemum. With so many varieties, there are plenty of ways to enjoy them, from planting yourself to decorating your home with them. Their blooms will last for weeks with a large number of flowers per plant. Mums are perfect for mass planting because of their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom cover. Plus orange, bronze, yellow, and white mums are perfect to additions to your fall decorations. Learn how to grow mums for your garden and spice up even the most drab of fall landscapes.

Varieties

Mums come in more than just a few autumnal shades. There are actually multiple varieties of mums in a wide variety of colors.

  • Apricot Alexis: These flowers tend to grow in an obvious apricot color and will be quite large once their blooms fully open. They can easily be the center of attention in autumnal flower bouquets.
  • Candid: Usually deep red with lighter ends on their petals, they are also one of the larger varieties of mums once their blooms open.
  • Seatons Ruby: Red tipped with a golden hue, these two-toned flowers have traditional mum petals around the outer edge, but a large, raised cushiony center.
  • Honeyglow: Honeyglow mums are what you think of when you think of mums. Coming in reds, oranges, and golds, this is a classic choice when adding some bright color to your decor.

These are colloquial terms for blooms. When visiting your local nursery, you can also say you’re looking for spider, quill, button, cushion or anemone mums.

Growing Mums

No matter whether they live in the ground or in a vase, mums are very hearty flowers that can live a long time. However, when growing mums, it is important to give them proper care so they can reach their peak. With planted in the optimal location and given proper care, your mums will grow year after year! Here are some tips for caring for your mums.

Location

These flowers need at least 6 hours of sun a day. If they do not get enough sun, they will be tall and leggy and produce fewer, smaller flowers. Try to not plant them alongside your house or garage if that area is typically shaded.

Soil

Mums thrive in well-drained soil. If your yard is soggy after the lightest rain, try growing your mums in a raised bed with friable soil. If your soil is too dense, add compost. Mums roots are shallow and they don’t like competition. When planting them, plant them 1 inch deeper than they were in the nursery pot and carefully spread the roots.

Water

Newly planted mums need to be water thoroughly. They should never be allowed to wilt. Once they have grown, give them about 1 inch of water per week. When their bottom leaves are starting to limp or turn brown, water them more often. However, avoid soaking the foliage as this can encourage disease.

Overwintering

Mums should be prepared for winter after the first hard frost. Mulch up to 4 inches and fill in around the entire plant, spreading between branches. Dead blooms should be pinched off, but branches should stay intact. They have a better chance of surviving if you wait to prune old stems until spring. When the weather warms, trim off the previous year’s stems as soon as new growth begins to show.

Decorating

Mums can be easily trimmed and placed as decoration around your home. They still have a long lifespan when cut as long as they are taken care of properly. Change the water in the vase daily and keep them in a cool area of your home. You can also place mums in pots, a window box, or in a mixed container with other plants. Mums are also perfect additions to any garden. Most mums will withstand a light fall frost, so coordinate bloom time with the length of fall in your area.

Aug 10

End of Summer Gardening

black-eyed-susan-885878_1920

It’s August! Some of your plants are still growing and full of color, so you may think the only thing to do is to enjoy your garden, right? Wrong! It’s time to watch your garden and begin preparations for your fall garden. Keep alert for weeds that need to be pulled, plants that need care, and pests that need to be taken care of. Here are some end of summer gardening tips to prepare your garden for fall.

Clearing Summer Spaces

Some of your summer blooms will still be growing, but a lot will be on their last leg. You want to make sure your garden doesn’t turn into a mess of falling, browning plants. Dehead flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs and try for one last round of blooms. Remove dying, fallen plants and make sure you stay on top of any weed growth. Keeping up with your garden care will ensure less work overall once the season is over. Also, if you have any clear garden beds make sure you cover up the empty spaces. Open ground is an invitation for hardening ground, pests, and weeds.

Starting Your Fall Garden

If you live in a region suitable for fall gardening, now is the time to get started. You may associate fall-foliage trees or shrubs with colorful autumn leaves with your fall garden, but perennials can add a lot of colors, and annuals are an inexpensive alternative. The color display put on by these annuals and perennials is a great addition to the non-living autumn decorations in your yard. However, fall flowers need some planning. You will need to plant them earlier in the season because they will bloom best if they’ve been in the garden all season. Aim to start planting your fall garden in July or August.

Not sure what to plant? These plants are perfect for fall!

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Pansy
  • Celosia
  • Flowering Kale
  • Aster

  • Dianthus
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Viola
  • Black-Eyed Susan

Mulch and Compost

Never leave your garden bare! You will need plenty of mulch and compost to get yours through the winter! Mulching your garden protects the plants by keeping the soil cool and moist, and also helps the soil conserve water, prevent weed growth, and resist insects. Also, as the mulch breaks down, it provides nutrients to your soil for your plants. A DIY compost pile is a simple weekend effort that will give you excellent results. Use soon-to-fall leaves to make mulch. By the time the last of your plants is out of your garden, your compost pile and leaf mulch will be ready to provide nutrients to your soil until next year.

We are only weeks away from autumn. Get ready for the new season by taking a trip to Bengert Greenhouses. Not only will you find beautiful blooms for fall, but you will also find everything you will need to prep your garden for fall. We pride ourselves on growing outstanding quality flowering plants and all of our plants are grown locally in our West Seneca greenhouses.

Jun 30

All About Petunias

petunias

Petunias can offer long term color for summer gardens and brighten dreary landscapes with their pastels and bright colors. Petunias are one of the most popular garden flowers. Not only are they inexpensive, but taking care of these beautiful flowers is simple and easy. Your garden will be filled with beautiful blooms that can last until autumn with proper care.

Growing Petunias

Petunias grow very slowly from seeds, so it is best to begin at least 10 to 12 weeks before planting. The seeds also need light to germinate. It is best to sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and lightly pat, but not fully cover them. Before germination, petunias prefer warmer temperatures. However, after germination, they prefer to grow in cooler temperatures. That being said, wait until the danger of frost is past before planting them outdoors because they are not tolerant of frost.

Caring for Petunias

Water

If you want multiple blooms, you should water your petunias regularly. They are tolerant of heat so weekly waterings should be enough unless there is a prolonged period of drought in your area. In general, water should be given enough to soak the soil to about 6 to 8 inches every time you water. “Spreading” types of petunias require more frequent watering. Flowers in hanging baskets also need to be watered more often, sometimes as often as daily, depending on their size and the volume of soil they contain.

Sunlight

The most important requirement for growing petunias successfully is having plenty of light. They can grow in partially shaded locations but will produce fuller and more abundant blooms in full sun. The more shade they receive, the fewer flowers they’ll produce.

Soil

These flowers do not need terribly rich soil to grow well. The only requirement is that it must drain decently. If you want to, soil can be improved with a well-composted organic matter worked into it. The organic matter should be spread to around 2 to 3 inches thick and incorporated into the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. This will not only open up heavy clay soil, which improves drainage, but can also increase the ability of light.

Fertilizer

Petunias are heavy “feeders.” While your flowers are blooming, they should be fertilized regularly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Every 10 to 14 days they should receive a liquid fertilizer. You can also give them a combination of a liquid and a slow-release fertilizer.

Deheading Petunias

Petunias live to reproduce themselves and create blooms to form new seeds. Once the bloom browns and falls off, the plant extends energy creating a seed pod filled with seeds. So why would you dehead them? Clipping off the old bloom and the forming pod makes the plant start the blooming process again. Instead of a stem covered in brown pods, you’ll have a bushy plant with constant blooms throughout the whole season. Deheading is a very simple job. You clip off the bottom of the bloom once they turn brown and cut the stems directly above the next set of leaves. This can be done by pinching them off with a thumbnail or by using a pair of garden shears.


Looking for some new and interesting petunias for your garden? Check out ColorBlitz!

This is a powerful new medium petunia series with the color and uniformity you need. Impressive bi-colors, star patterns and vibrant hues, all with end-user performance.

Jun 15

Show Us Your Garden

Show Us your Garden

We pride ourselves on growing outstanding quality flowering plants.

That’s why we want to see all of your beautiful blooms from this season! Upload a picture of your garden and we will feature them on our website!

Jun 09

Start Your Summer Garden!

Summer is here! This means long, hot days and bright, cherry gardens! Does your garden still need something extra to make it perfect? Well there are flowers you can plant that will withstand the heat and thrive all summer long. These flowers will bloom fully with vibrant colors. Even though good soil, fertilizer, and proper care will help these flowers thrive, they actually don’t need a lot of watering or attention, and can bloom in different types of soil.

Here are 5 flowers you can plant in summer to help you get the colorful garden of your dreams.

Marigold

marigold-1935782_1920

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Scientific Name: Tagetes Erecta

Marigolds are incredibly easy-going and reliable under a wide range of growing conditions. Because they are both easy to plant and easy to care for, marigolds are a staple in any summer garden. In fact, most thrive in full sun and they can even handle the reflected heat and light of paved surfaces as long as they get regular moisture. They are also not fussy about soil and can bloom better in poorer soil as long as they are not constantly soggy.

Aster

aster-tongolensis-57764_1280

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Type: Perennial

Scientific Name: Aster Amellus

Aster’s don’t just come in purple or lavender. They can also come with pink, red, blue, or white flowers as well. These dainty flowers can withstand heat and can be enjoyed from spring through fall. These flowers make great border plants and add a soft touch to any garden. They are prone to mildew, so be careful to plant them in areas with good circulation and sun exposure. A fun fact about Aster: These flowers attract butterflies.

Zinnia

tin-1591694_1920

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Scientific Name: Zinnia x hybrida

Zinnias are flashy summertime favorites that are a cheap way to add color to your garden. They are one of the simplest, most colorful annuals to grow and attract beneficial insects, butterflies and birds. These flowers grow fast and are low maintenance, but do need full sun and monthly fertilizer. Zinnias come in larger varieties that can be used for boarders and cut flower displays and small varieties for containers and window boxes.

Hibiscus

hibiscus-2313752_1920

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 6-11

Type: Perennial

Scientific Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Hibiscus blooms can grow surprisingly large to create eye-catching displays for your summer garden. Their flowers can even be consumed as food or in tea. Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, hibiscus can provide a tropical feel no matter the climate. Coming in three varieties, these flowers do well in full sun and, depending on the type, can offer full blooms from spring to fall.

Blanket Flower

indian-blanket-2145115_1920

Best for Plant Hardiness Zone: 3-11

Type: Perennial

Scientific Name: Gaillardia Aristata

Gaillardia Aristata or Blanket flowers are from the Sunflower family. These flowers offer daisy-like red blooms with yellow tips with blooms that can grow up to 4 inches across. These flowers are called blanket flowers because they can cover whole fields. They like full sun and heat, so blanket flowers will thrive in summer through fall. They also attract butterflies and are deer resistant.

Are you looking for additions to your summer garden? Come to Bengert Greenhouses! We pride ourselves on growing outstanding quality flowering plants. All of our plants are grown locally in our West Seneca greenhouses which helps the local economy and community. Located right in West Seneca, New York, we are situated perfectly to service the entire Western New York region.

May 08

Why Do We Need Bees?

pexels-photo-164470

The disappearance of bees should not be taken lightly. Researchers are struggling to find out what exactly is causing the decline in bee populations. The reality is, without bees, our ecosystem, economy, food supply and livelihood will suffer. Here are some reasons why these little guys are so important.

Bees are Vital Member of the Ecosystem

Bees, like many other species, play a vital role entire ecosystems to function. 75-95 percent of flowering plants need pollination. Bees belong to a group of animals, called pollinators, who transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another. This fertilizes the plant to help it grow and produce food. This cross-pollination helps at least 30% of the worlds crops and 90% of wild plants thrive. Not only would we lose beautiful plants, but they re also a vital food source. These plants contribute to the food system by feeding animals such as birds and insects. If the food source for these animals diminished, the entire food chain would suffer.

Bees Give Us Our Favorite Foods

Here are some quick facts:

  • One out of every three bites of food you eat is because of pollinators, such as bees.
  • 70 of the top 100 food crops grown worldwide rely on pollinators. This equates to 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Bees make it possible for your favorite foods to reach your table. We have bees to thank for apples, almonds, pumpkins, berries and a multitude of other kitchen staples. Without bees, we can say good bye to these foods. With 850 million people around the world suffering from lack of food and the global population set to increase to nine billion by 2050, bees will be important players in avoiding mass food scarcity.

Bees Stimulate Our Economy

Bees pollinate more than $15 billion a year in U.S crops. U.S honey bees also produce about $150 million in honey annually. Fewer bees means the economy takes a hit.  As for the global economy, bees contribute around $3,250 per hectare per year. With around 1.4 billion hectares of land used for crops globally, this equals around $4.2 trillion added to the global economy. The global cost of bee decline, including lower crop yields and increased production cost, has been estimated to be as high as $5.7 billion per year.

Why Are Bees Disappearing?

In North America, roughly 50 percent of the bee population has decreased since World War II. But what has changed that is causing this significant decrease?

  • Global warming has caused flowers to bloom earlier or later than usual. The result is when bees come out of hibernation, the flowers they need have already bloomed.
  • Increased development leads to habitat loss for bees. This includes farms that have been abandoned, growing crops without leaving habitat for wildlife, and growing non-pollinator friendly flowers in our gardens.
  • We spray pesticides on plants to kill pests and increase the plants productivity. However, Pesticide use can harm honey bees. For example, neonicotinoids are used to attack the nervous system of pests and can lead to instant death. Even if the bees survive, they can become disoriented and forget their way back to the hive. If enough bees are harmed, this causes Colony Collapse Disorder. (In good news, many of these pesticides have been banned in the European Union and stores in the U.S are opting to remove them from shelves.)

How We Can Protect Bees

Increased research by the U.S Department of Argriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, is vital and should be broadened to include pollinator research. Additionally, farmers can be rewarded for practices such as leaving habitat for bees in their surrounding fields, alternating crops so bees have food all year long, and not using harmful pesticides.

As for our homes, there are a few smaller things that can be implemented. You can start by planting bee-friendly plants in your garden, such as daisies, crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac. At the grocery store, you can support organic farmers who do not use chemicals on their crops. Plus, you can spread the word about the importance of bees and their declining population!

Save the Bees! Visit Bengert Greenhouses to and pick up some bee-friendly plants for your garden today!

Older posts «