Good Bee Food and Healthy Ecosystems

The world is covered in the most wonderful diversity of flowers. South Africa has different soil types and climates, with rainfall ranging from 50mm per annum to 800mm in some regions, not to mention temperature differences. Large daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations are experienced in our dryer regions and frost up to 5 months in a year; with summer and winter rainfall regions too.

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden – Elizabeth Lawrence 

Our honey bees live in all these different environments and experience the same weather extremes as plants do, with periods of food scarcity a major concern – so planting with these periods in mind in your region is critical in supporting our their needs for forage and sustainability.

Our honey bees survive by cooling down or warming up their brood nests, storing honey reserves or leaving their hives for ‘greener pastures so to speak; and because they exploit whatever food source is around for them – they pollinate thousands of plant species, making them key to the sustainability of ecosystems.

Use our Good Bee Food section to understand your local Beekeeper’s Choice for feeding honey bees on in your province (this also gives you a good idea of what plants not to remove on your farms and open land or gardens) – or as a good starting point you will find a wide selection of good bee food in our section Grow Your Garden Buzzy of both exotic and indigenous flowering plants.



Weeds help as a natural mineral fixer in the soil, support moisture retention, creating a living mulch; they repel insects and or attract the insects and the bugs that your plants can take advantage of. 

Generally weeds have little pollen or nectar, but some of the herbs are useful to beekeepers, like cosmos, false dandelion, echium, ramnas and different senecios, as they are valuable for stimulating brood production and maintaining colonies, and under good conditions they may produce surplus honey.  Follow the link for a listing by country of origin, with all these bees weeds being found in South Africa along with their beeplant values which have been allocated from observations of honey bee activity.


Not all gums are bad – and all gums are great for honey bees

In South Africa there are over 85 different species of introduced gums. Because of their mass flowering at various times of the year, they provide a constant and reliable flow of nectar and a source of pollen, making them essential to the beekeeping industry & agriculture.  There are six gum species listed in SA as invaders and you only need to remove them if they are in a ‘sensitive area’ on your land.

Follow the link for all you need to know about what gums are good or bad for our biodiversity, when you can keep them and why and when they should be removed.


Pesticide ingredients not hot for bees

Our Bad 4 Bees section is a current list of all pesticide active ingredients that are hazardous for honey bees.  At the end of each section is a breakdown on the various human effects that have been noted against some of these. 

Please note that the classifications used are internationally recognised classifications used by all parties in the relevant field and not based on any opinion of The Bee Effect.  Aside of environmental toxicities, all others are referring to humans.  Use this list wisely to find alternatives that protect pollinators while you build up your bee food buzz.


There are healthy alternatives

Ask your local garden nursery for advice on healthy pesticide alternatives for bees and other pollinators; explore companion planting and create your own integrated pest management to support healthy natural predators and pollinators.

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