Honey bees & reasons to support bee-craft Honey bees are pollinators vital to our food chain. One third of the food we eat would not be available but for honey bees. In the UK about 70 crops are dependent on, or benefit from, visits from bees. In addition, bees pollinate the flowers of many plants which become part of the feed of farm animals. The economic value of honey bees and bumble bees as pollinators of commercially grown insect pollinated crops in the UK has been estimated at over £200 million per year. But tragically bees are in danger of disappearing from our environment! Farming practices continue to disturb the natural habitats and forage of solitary and bumblebees at a rate which gives them little chance for re-establishment. And the honeybee is under attack from the varroa mite and it is only the treatment and care provided by beekeepers that is keeping colonies alive. Most wild honeybee colonies have died out as a result of this disease. In fact due to the varroa mite, the longest a feral honeybee colony can survive in the wild is about 18 months; the bee-keeper has now become the guardian of the honey-bee in the UK and most other countries around
Alternatives to Sugar Water for Feeding Bees Honey bees’ natural food sources are pollen and nectar. While bees naturally feed on pollen and nectar, beekeepers often provide supplemental feeding to their beehives during the winter and early spring when pollen and nectar are not available naturally, as well as during droughts and other times when natural food is in short supply. Because sugar water may incite wild bees and other insects to rob the hives, alternatives to sugar water are appealing to many beekeepers. Wheat, Soy and Yeast Wheat and yeast products can be used to feed bees an adequate protein source. Yeast and soybean products can be fed to the bees dry and unprocessed in the hive or feeders, but since bees cannot process wheat on their own, wheat must be fed to bees in a moist cake form. Pollen can be added to wheat, yeast or soy cakes to make the food more nutritious and appealing to the bees. Sugar Syrup Isomerized corn syrup or type-50 sugar syrup are two accepted honey substitutes for honey bees and can be fed to bees in liquid form through a bag or board feeder in the hive, or by pouring the syrup directly into the cells in the brood chamber of the hive. Leftover syrups from candy and soda pop production can also be used to feed bees and are often an economical choice when purchased in bulk, but bee keepers should be wary of broken bags that can contain contaminants and insecticides, as well as out-of-date products that my be fermenting and contain toxic bacteria. Hard Candy Beekeepers can make their own hard candy to feed bees as an alternative to liquid sugar syrup. Hard candy can be made by warming light corn syrup and granulated sugar on the stove or in the microwave and pouring into a mold to cool until brittle. Any hard candy recipe containing corn syrup or honey can be adapted to use with bees. Granulated Sugar Another option for feeding bees is to use raw, granulated sugar rather than syrup. Simply pour some sugar crystals onto the inner cover of the hive for the bees to eat when they need additional food. Honey Conservation Leaving enough honey in the hives to feed the bees is another way to avoid needing to feed bees through artificial means. Frames of honey can be transferred from hive to hive to balance out the honey supply for hives that are running low on food.
Yes the bees are working hard. The first batch of honey has been extracted.
Hi I hope you managed to visit the garden this year. We have welcomed over 400 visitors so far and some more to come yet. If you are a group of 6 or more you can still book, there is plenty to see. Rod