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Bee forage

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New Bee

Joined: 19 Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Consett UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:34 am    Post subject: Bee forage Reply with quote


I have read that bees will travel up to 3 miles to forage, but how close to their hive will they forage?

I am planning on allowing a section of my garden to go a bit wild and grow some wild flowers. Whilst I am sure this will benefit other bees, would it be of benefit to my own?

Just curious. I assume they would only travel as far as they need to.

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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The thing to bear in mind when planting for honey bees is that because they are social insects and communicate with each other regarding a good source of pollen and/or nectar, they tend to go for large areas of the same bloom.... hence fields of rape or tree blossom where many bees can all work the same bloom. Therefore planting in large patches of the same bee friendly plant is better for them than planting a mixture which is more likely to benefit bumble bees and other pollinating insects.... nothing wrong with that of course. Early in the year when temperatures do not allow for distant foraging and there are fewer bees foraging anyway, providing patches of crocus and snow drops near the hives can be very beneficial and winter jasmine is another good one. I have an apricot tree and that provides them with useful pollen and nectar at this time of year and me with apricots later (that's a win/win!).
I tend to watch which wild flowers they are working locally and encourage those in my garden. A couple of years ago I transplanted some wild comfrey and I am working on developing a big patch of that.... it is great for providing compost for the garden and conditioning the soil and is self sustaining once you get a big enough patch established. Having dandelions and clover in your lawn and not cutting it too often is also beneficial. Trees are wonderful foraging opportunities for bees because they provide a large quantity of pollen and nectar in a relatively small space. Willow is another great early producer of pollen.

During the main season, once the temperatures are in the mid teens Celsius and above, I find that they will usually go further afield for most of their foraging, so gardening for them in late winter and early spring is probably the most beneficial for your bees as a beekeeper.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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