Honey bee feeding from a Dandelion flower
This is another post from our founder and beekeeper Simon with more tips and hints on how we can all help our beautiful British bees to survive and thrive...
Leave those Dandelions
Yes they are pernicious weeds, but long-lasting Dandelion flowers are also terrific sources of pollen and nectar for bees and many other pollinators. Please leave the flowers intact until they have finished before removing these weeds. Also please don’t use herbicides like Roundup and others to kill these weeds. Simply dig them up, root and all and put them in your green bin or compost heap. You can even harvest the leaves and add them to salads and stir-fry’s if you want to…
Please don’t use insecticides
These chemicals are very blunt weapons and usually kill all insects, both the ones being targeted and those beneficial to the very plants being protected. There is a lot of controversy over a particular group of insecticides called neonicotinoids which are widely used in agriculture but are also used in some garden products.
In even very low doses these chemicals apparently disrupt the abilities of bees to navigate and weaken colonies. Many of those insects being targeted are developing resistance to most of the more common insecticides anyway. Please avoid using them if you can and instead use alternatives such as pheromone traps or beneficial planting if you can.
Provide bees with access to water
It's been a very dry spring with hardly any rain here in the South of England since March. All animals need ready access to water and bees are no exception, using water for a number of purposes including regulating the temperature and humidity in the hive. They quite often prefer what looks like "dirty water” which helps them collect many of the minerals they need, but they need a means of getting to the water without falling in and drowning.
If you do see bees drinking at the edge of a bird fountain or other sources of water, please put some pebbles or an old cloth in the container so that bees and other insects can get access to drink safely.