With the school holidays nearly upon us, the parents on the Bee Good team are beginning to think about how to keep their broods occupied during the school break (and get them off screens and out into the fresh air!). While there are sure to be plenty of egg hunts, how about going on a Bee Hunt this Easter?
Believe it or not, there are over 20,000 different species of bees, and several of the more common ones can be spotted now, including the Hairy Footed Flower Bee, the Painted Mining Bee, the Buff Tailed Bee, the Tree Bee, and the common Bumble Bee.
Male Hairy Footed Bee
If you’d like to use bee spotting to get the little (and not so little) ones out for a walk, make sure you have a good reference guide to help spot different bee species. There are several easy to follow reference books that we like, from the relatively inexpensive ‘Know Your Bees’, which identifies 32 of the more common wild bees, to the fuller ‘Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland’ . You can also download a free Bee Identification leaflet from Friends of The Earth - their site also has bee-themed word search and colouring printables in case rain stops play!
Secondly, target the most likely plants that attract bees at this time of year. Look for colour and flowers. Crocuses, Anemones, Grape Hyacinths are pollen-rich and attract bees, as will Wallflowers and early flowering Camelias. Trees can be a good place to look too - in particular, look out for furry Catkins covered in the yellow pollen that bees go for in swarms.
A Mason Bee on an Everlasting Pea
If hunting for bees piques your child’s interest in our fuzzy buzzy friends, why not set up a Bee Hotel or Nesting Box. They are relatively inexpensive, widely available and will provide a constant interest from now and right through the summer. They should soon see the tube-nesting Mason Bees, and Orchard Mason Bees arriving.
You could also sow some sweet pea seeds. When they flower, they are likely to attract Leafcutter Bees, Carpenter Bees and Bumble bees. The lucky ones will also see the Violet Carpenter Bee, which is a large black bee with violet purple wings the colour of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate foil wrappers. Or plant up your Bee Good seedballs!
Whatever you’re doing this Easter, here’s hoping for plenty of sunshine!