Alan, a local bee-keeper supplies a lot of Hither Green honey!

The so-called “June Gap” is over and our little insect friends are back buzzing about, building up their stores for winter. It may surprise those who have not had the opportunity to study or find out about our honey bees that the urban environment such as Hither Green is a rich source of food for these little insects; urban gardens, railway embankments, abandoned building sites and even the little (and not so little!) flowers growing out of our ageing brick walls are all places for bees to visit.

Here are 3 of our friends harvesting from a giant thistle. The nectar, from which they make their honey, they ingest to carry back to their nest inside them. The pollen, which you see in little sacks on their back legs in this picture, is the protein from which they make “Royal Jelly” to feed to their young.

 

The study and enjoyment of bees and beekeeping can last a lifetime, yours and mine. Even the answering of simple questions like, “How long do they live?”, “How do they find the flowers?”, “How many bees are in a hive?”, “How far do they fly?”, “What is a swarm and why do they swarm?” provoke fascinating answers. Bees don’t want to sting you; they are much too busy going about their short and frenetic lives. They will, however, if they are provoked, frightened or think that you are attacking their hives.

These little fellows do a lot for us in pollinating our fruiting plants and trees. Eating their honey seems to help sufferers from hay fever, although this has never been proved scientifically. Also applying honey to grazes, cuts and burns, amongst others, seems to help and have some healing properties. It is unlikely that so will see a swarm at this time of year but if, say next Spring, one containing upwards of 10,000 bees lands in your garden, there is no need to be alarmed. There are many willing beekeepers in the area who will gladly and gently remove them to a new home to carry on their good work.

Photo: (c) A2Bee Honey