Bee Watch – End May – What’s Good For Bees?

Bee

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We have been looking at successive plants which bees forage upon through the year with cotoneaster just ending here, fruit trees have mostly flowered and been pollinated as have Rowen, some Sycamore is still in flower, as is chestnut and blackberry is getting close to flowering. 

May Thorn
May Thorn

We move forward from trees to flowering plants and June sometimes brings a dearth of flowers particularly in the countryside so we are more dependent on gardens.

Lavander
Lavander

There is little point in listing possible flowers that gardeners can consider for bees and pollinating insects, rather in my view its best for gardeners to observe what attracts bees to their gardens throughout the season from March to November, and to plug any gaps in the flowering season.

The more gardeners provide season round forage then the better it is for bees and pollinating insects, the plants and birds etc which eat the fruit and those which predate on the insects.

Logan Berry
Logan Berry
Hardy Geranium
Hardy Geranium

Photos in the garden today 20 May include bees of all sorts on the hardy annual blue geranium, wallflower, loganberry, hardy fuchsia, lavender, may thorn, and a wasp feeding on cotoneaster.

Wall Flower
Wall Flower

Meanwhile inside the honey bee hive the colonies are developing fast, at this time of year the queen is laying 1,000 eggs per day, building colonies to maximum strength of some 50,000 bees by July. Summertime honey bees live just 6 weeks spending the first 3 weeks indoors as nurse bees then foraging for the last 3 weeks so they die out in the open not clogging the hive.

Fuschia
Fuschia

Photos show eggs laid for the male drone bee and a frame of capped brood covered in bees, the queen is visible on this frame. A frame of white capped honey is shown, bees produce wax from glands on their abdomen, wax is derived from forage so is a nectar product containing healthy material when used as balms and burns with an alcohol flame (not paraffin) so even the fumes are beneficial

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Feb Stores
Feb Stores
Feb Capped Stores
Feb Capped StoresFeb Capped Brood

Feb Capped Brood

A frame of un-capped honey with pollen stores is also shown. Honey bees fill the cells with nectar, the cells are slightly inclined so the nectar doesn’t dribble out, bees beat their wings to evaporate excess water from what becomes honey and then when the cells are full bees cap the cells with wax for long term storage.

Drone eggs
Drone eggs

Barry Griffiths

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