I’ve discovered that honeybees just love Echinacea, even cut flowers in vases! Loads were planted for NYR in the farm’s herb plot, and since the Echinacea root is what they’re going to use for the remedies, we were allowed to pick armfuls!
Honeybees were queueing up at the back patio, and they really seemed to be selecting these flowers over other pollen and nectar sources available in late summer/early autumn, such as Perennial Sowthistle, a favourite of hoverflies. So all you wildlife gardeners out there, I recommend you add a plot of Echinacea a.s.a.p.! And here are 10 more ways to help honeybees.
Also, at the end of September I saw what appeared to be swarming behaviour at a Beech tree hollow. Or were the bees sunbathing?! I’ve never witnessed this sort of action at this time of year – it’s highly unusual for bees to do this, as far as I know. (photo below, enlarged later)
You’d expect busy flight activity in summer for swarming and when virgin Queens mate. Swarming is the way honeybees move to a new location, with a fresh queen. It’s a vital part of behaviour that beekeepers must manage well, if they are to avoid the bulk of every colony leaving home! The peak time’s early summer. Oh, I would quote you something from a brilliant old book about swarm management, but I’ve given it to somebody at Keveral Farm who’s interested in beekeeping.
Above: bees! Click image to see it larger.
Below: my video clip on youtube.
copyright © 2008 Jason P Ball