Unlike the busy bees, I’ve been remiss in reporting on our Adopt a Beehive project. I received the update several weeks ago and will now give a brief summary of the contents.
- There is a simple plea from our beekeepers to gardeners: where possible, could we try to get rid of weeds without using proprietary weed killers and we are urged to check the ingredients and labels on all garden products.
- Looking further ahead, we gardeners are being urged to plant spring bulbs, in particular crocuses and snowdrops which provide a much needed source of pollen. Daffodils less so.
- Leave your ivy to mature and flower as this is a vital source of food for bees. Recent research has shown that an average of 89% of pollen pellets brought by worker bees to the hive in September and October contain ivy. Ivy is also important for late-season butterflies and hover flies.
- Other plants which provide some winter forage for bees are: the Christmas rose, (Helleborus niger) and winter flowering box (Sarcococca).
The leaflet is full of interesting articles such as the debate about Himalayan balsam. Friend or foe? Well, it seems for some beekeepers it is a definite thumbs up as a source of late summer pollen for bees. See also a feature on oil seed rape. Another article cites a study on the healing properties of honey in the form of special honey gauzes to heal wounds and there is news about healing of a different type, as prisoners are encouraged to keep bees, as part of their rehabilitation process.
Finally, if anyone is very keen: National Honey Week takes place in the last week of October. Perhaps, we could all spare a thought for the bees on that particular week and think what we might do to help, bearing in mind that, about one in three mouthfuls we eat, is dependent on insect pollination!
If anyone would like to read the above articles in full, please contact Tayport Community Garden.