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Beekeeping in spring

For beekeepers, spring is the start of the beekeeping season. It is when we are all (supposed to be!) ready for our bee colonies as they start to grow significantly in numbers after the winter spell. As bumblebees and solitary bees hibernate through winter, honeybees have been awake and clustering to keep warm in the hive. As the temperatures rise, the worker bees will be out foraging for pollen and nectar from the first available flowers that provide it.  They need pollen to feed young and developing bees, its like baby food for bees.

Photography by Andrea Ku

Pollen comes in all different colours and not just yellow. The picture shows pollen collected near the Blackburne House BEE You apiary at Rimrose Valley, A mix of wildflowers and trees flowers make up the colours. Bees will also need to collect nectar which they reduce down to make honey – food for the older bees. Once there is enough pollen and nectar in the hive, the queen will start laying eggs…..and not just 1 or 2 but 100s and 1000s from April until the end of summer. During peak times, the queen can lay up to 2000 eggs a day! This is more than her own bodyweight!

Photography by Andrea Ku

You may have seen a flurry of spring flower colour appearing in your garden or local green space. During April and early May, there are so many different flowers available to bees. The more we know about this, the more we can help provide flowers for the bees. Some plants you may have seen which are great for bees are: Dandelions Alkanet Horse Chestnut flowers Bluebells

Some plants to look out for in mid/late spring: Hawthorn Lime trees Fruit trees like apple and cherry

What you can do to help bees locally: Leave a wild patch of grass in your garden for bees and other insects and birds Grow some wildflower seed or plant pollinator-friendly plants Start planting some sunflower seeds now – bees LOVE sunflowers!  

If you're on your daily exercise walk or lucky enough to have a garden, look a little bit further into your plants to see if there are bees foraging on them. You will be surprised at how many plants we call weeds are vital for bees.

Photography by Andrea Ku

Written by Andrea Ku

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