Tony Economou - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Tony Economou on 2/8/2018

If you've read the news in the last few years you've likely heard about the alarming decline of the bee population. In our daily lives, most of us think of bees only when they're buzzing uncomfortably close to our picnic table. What we don't often realize is the vital role that bees play in pollenating our food supply.

Large farms throughout the country (and throughout the world) hire beekeepers to bring in their colonies for pollination. Without those bees there would be a drastic drop in food production. While drops in bee populations are naturally occurring and fluctuate from year to year, recent years have seen some of the worst declines to date.

Starting to feel bad about swatting at the bees in your backyard?

First you should understand that these declines aren't your fault because you've killed a few bees in your life. Among the stresses that the bee population faces are viruses, mites, climate change, and habitat reduction. It would take a massive culture shift to address all of those issues. But, there are a few things you can do right in your backyard that will lend a small hand in helping out your local bee population.

Know your bees (and what's not a bee)

Many people treat bees, wasps and hornets as interchangeable. Bees are fuzzy pollinators that can sting only once. Common bees include honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.

Wasps are not fuzzy, and therefore not as effective as pollinators. They prey on insects and can be more aggressive than bees. The only wasps that sting are females, but they can sting multiple times.

Hornets are a sub-species of wasp native to North America. They too can sting multiple times and are known for being the most aggressive of the three. Again, they are not the most effective pollinators.

Bees, wasps, and your backyard

If you've noticed an uptick in the number of bees or wasps on you property it's not necessarily a bad thing. If their numbers are low and you're not concerned about anyone's safety you may decide to leave them be. The bees and wasps will help you by pollinating your flowers, eating surplus insects, and leaving you well alone.

Some ways you can keep your backyard bees healthy include not using pesticides on your lawn or garden. You could also plant more flowers and let your wildflowers grow freely to provide an extra nectar source for the local bees.

Too much of a good thing

If the bees in your yard have grown high in number, are becoming aggressive, or you are worried for the safety of your family (bee sting allergies can be life-threatening) then it might be time to take action.

To avoid becoming part of the problem of declining populations, call in a professional. Some pest control companies still use killing the bees as a solution. But there are companies that are more proactive and attempt to coax away bees and relocate them. Seek out no-kill pest control companies for help.

Your local beekeeper is also an unexpendable resource when it comes to learning what to do about bees. Many beekeepers will even relocate the bees to commercial honey-making hives.

With a bit of research and careful behavior, cohabiting with bees can be beneficial for us and for the little bugs that make our honey.





Posted by Tony Economou on 5/5/2016

A vegetable garden is the perfect addition to your landscape adding color and texture to your yard.  It is wonderful to grow and harvest your own fresh vegetables. If you are considering adding a garden to your landscape or you already have one, here are some tips you may find helpful. Location: Choosing the correct location for a vegetable garden is key.  You want to ensure the optimal growing conditions while complimenting your yard at the same time.  Stay away from the family's high traffic areas, avoid your children's favorite places to play, and be aware of the path the dog takes when running through the yard.  Raised beds and container gardens can compliment many areas of the yard as well as the deck and patio. Sunlight: Find an area in your yard that gets the maximum amount of direct sunlight.  Eight hours of sunlight per day is optimal, however many plants will still thrive with less.  Gardens that  encounter partial shade during the day can be planted according to the need of each plant.  Just keep in mind, the more sunlight the better. Planting: When choosing what to plant in your garden, you will need to take into consideration the length of the growing season, the amount of space you have to work with, and the potential yield of each plant.  Purchasing small, well established plants is a great way to get started, however sowing  seeds directly in the garden soil is preferred for some vegetables such as carrots, and radishes.  Be sure to leave the appropriate amount of space between plants to allow them to grow to their full potential.  Be sure to provide the proper support for plants that grow vertical such as beans, peas and cucumbers, and stakes for your tomatoes.  The professionals at your local garden center can help guide you to the plants that will best meet your needs. Feed and Water: As with every living thing, your garden plants will need food and water to grow.  Be sure the garden soil is kept loose at the base of the plants so the water will be absorbed.  It is most beneficial to your plants to water in the early morning or later in the evening.  There is a wide range of plant food available, organic fertilizer is always a great option.  Be sure to read labels carefully, and always use as directed. Maintenance: To ensure your garden grows to its full potential you will need to keep the weeds under control.  Pull out the weeds and loosen the soil with a hand scratcher or cultivator to inhibit re-growth.  Grass clippings, straw, and other organic matter can be placed around the plants to keep the soil cool and moist and keep weeds from growing.  There is also a variety of garden cloth and plastic sheeting for weed control available at your local garden center. A vegetable garden is a wonderful addition to any yard.  There is nothing better than being able to pick your own fresh produce. The more time you have to put into your garden the better your harvest will be.







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