Boosting the Bee Population
The rooftop buffet at the Omni at the Colonnade has something for everyone. Guests are treated to fresh vegetables from the garden, and the plants nourish a colony of bees.
“There’s a really good environment up there. We’ve got all the blossoming flowers, you got all the tomatoes, you got the peppers and onions, and it’s fresh, organic. We’re using it in the restaurant. We’re using the honeys, which are killer,” executive sous chef Sam Boisjoly said.
And the busy bees have made a lot of honey.
“These bees should produce right around 300 pounds of honey by the end of June,” Walter Schumacher with the Central Texas Bee Rescue, a nonprofit group that relocates unwanted beehives, said.
At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, native plants and insects go hand in hand.
“The pollinators need the flowers for a nectar source or a pollen source, and without them, they wouldn’t have food to eat, so it’s a mutually beneficial thing,” the center’s Andrea DeLong-Amaya said.
President Barack Obama's Pollinator Heath Task Force recommends restoring or enhancing 7 million acres by planting native wildflowers.
“Planting stuff that will attract pollinators, you know ever little bit counts. Every time you see a butterfly or a beetle on a flower taking nectar or pollen, you’re doing that insect a service, and the plants are getting a service as well,” DeLong-Amaya said.
Schumacher doesn’t think the president’s plan addresses what he says is the real threat to bees.
“If the United States government put a moratorium on systemic pesticides that would save the bees and if they don’t, the bees probably won’t be safe,” Schumacher said.
Until then he says he'll work to allow bees to do what bees do best: make honey.
The Wildflower Center has example gardens and ideas of the plants you can use to help these important insects.