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Dear Editor,

I live in an average 1500 square foot home and have limited space for prepping.  My wife will only allow me so much space for my paranoia (her words not mine).  I was wondering what could be safely stored in the attic?  I realize that it gets unbearably hot up there in the summer time.  I also am aware that putting food up there will dramatically cut down on the food’s shelf life.  Nothing electronic or easily able to melt should go up there either.  Could I safely store things like toilet paper, plastic buckets, sealed (from bugs) blankets, etc. in the attic and expect them to be reasonably usable after possible years of storage?

Thank you,

J.A.

Dear J.A.,

Yes, you can use your attic for storage. You don’t say where you live, how much attic space you have, what pitch roof you have, if your attic is floored in, or if the attic is equipped with an attic fan. I live in the Deep South, so you can imagine what my attic is like on a summer day! I have an attic fan installed that I can turn on whenever I like, in order to pull the heat out of the attic. This is in addition to ridge vent, mechanical vents, soffit vents, and gable vents. You see, keeping ventilation going is the key to maintaining a cooler environment in the attic space as well as giving your house the opportunity to breathe.

If your attic isn’t floored in, go to your local home improvement store and pick up some OSB panels and cover an area up. You don’t want to put anything in the attic that will lay in between the attic floor joists on top of the interior ceiling sheetrock panels. These panels are simply nailed or screwed up there and they can’t take any weight bearing directly down on them from items stored in the attic. Once your flooring is in, consider installing a light if you don’t have one so you can see. Then feel free to store the items you mentioned (buckets, toilet paper, paper towels, canning jars, etc.). I keep bundles of toilet paper and paper towels in my attic, along with all my canning supplies as well. However, not knowing how your house was constructed or the size and span of the framing members, I would caution you about overloading the ceiling joists. Stick with your paper goods, empty buckets, and lightweight items, and spread them out over a large area. Don’t concentrate all your goods in one small space.

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I have tried planting flower colors that should attract bees. I have tried putting sugar solutions in small containers with ant motes and I still can’t get bees to help me with my vegetables. What else can I try?
Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Unfortunately, you’re probably one of the many, many people in this country who are suffering from an absence of bees. Between the diseases, the parasites, and the pesticides that are being used, we don’t have a wild honeybee population to speak of any more. Bee numbers have gotten to such critically low levels from the parasites, diseases, and pesticide misuse that they cannot survive without intervention or management by man.

Bees work within a six-mile radius from their hive. Putting out sugar water is a fruitless effort on your part. Even if it did get bees into the area, they would simply eat the sugar water and leave your plants to fend for themselves. My suggestion is that you find your state’s beekeeper association and join it. Find beekeepers in your area. Through these connections you can do one of two things: you can acquire a hive or two of your own and keep bees simply for pollination purposes or, if you have enough room, you may be able to offer your land for beekeepers to use when they split hives. A beekeeper cannot split a hive and keep both hives together. They must be separated by a distance of at least two miles for a certain period of time. If you didn’t want to get involved in beekeeping yourself, this would be another way to have bees within the vicinity of your garden.

The Editor

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