The Humble Bee
A queen bee can lay up to 2000 eggs per day.
In its life, a honey bee will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
Beeswax has many uses ranging from candles to cosmetic products.
Honey bees perform the Waggle Dance to communicate to other bees where to find resources such as water, nectar and pollen.
There are hundreds of different types of bees, not just Honey Bees. Some others include the Bumble Bee, Masonry Bees, Leaf-cutter Bee and even Mining Bees.
The taste, colour and viscosity of honey changes hugely depending on what flowers the bees have been foraging upon.
The best way to support bees is to plant a variety of different flowers for them to feed on - variety is the spice of life!
How can you help? - Plant for Bees
Plant a variety of plants.
Try to have plants in your garden which produce both nectar and pollen.
Think about the times of year that things come into flower - try to have at least one thing which insects can use as a food source in each season...rather than lots of things all in the summer.
Try to have early food sources available - in late winter and early spring - this can be a crucial time of year for pollinating insects, especially wild colonies of bees or those who don’t have any input from a beekeeper.
Bluebell, bugle, crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry and currant, forget-me-nots, hawthorn, pulmoaria, rhododendron, rosemary, thrift and viburnum
Aquilegia, astilbe, Campanella, comfrey, delphinium, everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius),fennel, foxglove, hardy geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, Stachys, teasel, thyme, Verbascum
Angelica, aster, buddleia, cardoon, cornflower, dahlia (single-flowered), eryngium, fuchsia,globe thistle, heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum, Verbena bonariensis.
Try to avoid using poisons, such as weedkillers, as their impact can be huge.
If you’re able, try to provide some habitats for solitary bees
Consider setting up a water station for bees to use - especially in hot weather. Rainwater is best, and make sure there are plenty of rocks/ plants around the water for the bees to safely stand on to help prevent drowning.
Research has also shown that fungi, such as mushrooms, can be beneficial to colonies of bees...consider setting up a small patch of mushrooms in the corner of the garden and see if you notice any bee activity!
Information provided by local Beekeeper and Landscape Gardener - Andy Morton