Vita Bee Health Expert de la santé de l’abeille dans le monde

Busy again, but where?

Observation hive bees get into autumnal action rushing in and out of their tunnel to the great outdoors.

After a few weeks idle time, the observation hive bees are out and about again as often as the weather permits. I suspect the ivy is beginning to flower after the August gap. Ivy produces one of the few honeys that I loathe, but I like what it does to provide winter stores for the bees.

I’ve heard it said that its crystallization makes it hard for the bees to use in a cold winter, but here in southern England winters are mild enough to let the bees out frequently enough to gather water to help liquefy any solid stores.

This week, I saw the NASA honeybee forage map of the USA. Fascinating — by clicking on each state, you can see what the bee forage is, its significance and when it flowers.

For British beekeepers there is that marvellous short paper by Dorothy Hodges: A Calendar of Bee Plants. Published by IBRA in 1978, but giving average flowering times recorded in the 1940s and 50s it offers an almost frightening picture of climate change: it is very clear how earlier plants tend to flower now (this tardy spring excepted of course!).

And this year, the beekeeper must-have Plants for Bees, an updated version of the 1945 work of FN Howes’ Plants and Beekeeping was published.

But what I’d really like is a flightpath map to show where my bees are foraging. Any ideas?

Turlough, Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger


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