Brilliant Bees, by Andrew Hayter
In these beastly times, as we are all forced to confront our mortality, it is worth reflecting how closely our existence relies on the Bees.
Humanity would only survive for four years if bees became extinct. There are over 800 species of Bee worldwide and only one specie of Honey Bee. They are all responsible for pollinating our crops and flowers, but only one rewards us with honey!
The first nectar of spring is from flowering bulbs, primrose, dandelion and early tree blossoms such as hawthorn and cherry. These vital food sources stimulate the Queen to start laying eggs again after a winter of being kept warm and fed by her workers. In her prime, she can lay 2,000 eggs a day that will emerge into the next generation of workers in only 21 days. The successfully overwintered colony can create a population explosion of almost biblical proportion. Rapidly increasing by over 40,000 workers in readiness for the main nectar runs of late spring and early summer.
Due to limited space in the “hive”, this population explosion can lead to a swarm developing. It is simply the original queen taking flight with half the bees in attendance, leaving a young queen to continue the original colony. This is how bees reproduce and colonise new sites. The swarm is a truly remarkable sight and those of us lucky enough to have seen one, won’t forget it in a hurry.
I often wondered what happens to these swarms. Where do they go? How do they survive? What if they settle somewhere unsuitable (a chimney!)? How can I give them a new, safe and productive home. Enter the “Swarm Trap.” A simple box with various vital features that the scout bees find attractive enough to then lead the emerging swarm too, as their new home.
You don’t need to know about bees or beekeeping to put one of these boxes up in your garden, or on your house/shed. You just need to want to help our bees and provide them a new home. You can simply leave them “Bee” or become a beekeeper and harvest their honey. Either way, you’ve done your bit and the “Buzz” is immense. There is something about Honey Bees that connects deeply with the human soul. Perhaps it is because we depend on each other for our very existence.
You will find my boxes for sale on ebay via this link. I would be delighted to answer any questions you may have and you can contact me via my ebay page. I hope this might bring new wonder to your garden and add to your wellbeing in these difficult times.
- Andrew PB Hayter
If you decide to become a beekeeper, then you might spend many happy and educational hours on youtube, with your head buried in books or by joining your local beekeeping society. Or you could just let them “Bee” and get a simple but very real thrill of watching them flying home with their shopping baskets full of pollen as they waddle towards the entrance hole!