Bees in the Autumn

Published on October 23rd 2019
A bee in a purple crocus
You may be wondering what bees think of the rain?
Firstly, it is essential to note that the wings of bees are incredibly delicate, and raindrops, although seemingly harmless from our perspective, can be devastating to a gossamer-fine wing.
A close up of a bee wing
The intricate bee wing
Bees, therefore, tend not to fly in wet weather to prevent damage to themselves. Just as we often prefer to stay indoors and out of the rain, bees also remain in the hive.
This all sounds straightforward. However, 30-40,000 bees together inside during in the autumn, when the last of nectar and pollen forage is available, can pose a serious problem.
a lot of bees on a hive
With their honey stores filled, and presumably not stolen by the beekeeper, bees inside the hive continue to eat. But as they cannot go outside to forage, the stores are not replenished.
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With several months ahead until the first nectar and pollen of spring become available, bees are at risk of starvation. If not now, then certainly during the winter.
The risk of starvation is why it is vital that when caring or keeping bees, you are prepared for extended weeks of inclement weather. Beekeepers will regularly replace harvested honey with sugar syrup, but that doesn’t have the nutrients that the bees need to remain healthy.
A group of bees eating sugar water

How can gardeners help?

Try planting more winter flowering plants, rosemary, abelia (bee bush), clematis or common ivy and mahonia are all fabulous for nectar and pollen.
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