Gardeners urged to choose honey bee-friendly plants after deadly warm winter
Warm winters equate to increased activity in the beehive; this also suggests that #varroa will be active alongside an albeit reduced, but continued, rearing of brood (something that normally ceases in the winter months).
In short, treat your hives now, or, at best, suffer increased varroa mite numbers, at worst, lose the colony altogether!
People are being asked to choose #bee-friendly plants this spring after many of the flowers the insects usually feed off have already bloomed and died.
The Rugby branch of the British Beekeepers Association is concerned there won’t be enough pollen and nectar-rich plants blooming this spring to sustain the hives.
Milder winters have led to more #bees being active in the winter months.
They use energy reserves that they aren’t able to replace and flowers blooming early means that there are fewer bee-friendly plants around in spring.
Branch chairman Dr Steve Brown has already lost several of his 12 hives to starvation.
Dr Brown said: “This peculiar winter could devastate honey bees in the coming spring and summer.
“We need people to plant honey bee-friendly plants.”
He recommended planting flowers and trees which either release pollen early in the year or later in the year.
Examples of flower and trees which can help save the bees include fuschias, poppies, pansies, single snowdrops and crab apple trees.
The Rugby Beekeepers Association are also running an introductory for any aspiring apiarists who want to help sustain the bee population.
Dr Brown said: “We desperately need more bee keepers and we are running an introductory course for people interested in becoming bee keepers.”
He said more beekeepers were needed to help the honey bee population deal with deadly varroa mites, which can cause deformities and colony destruction, during the milder winter weather.
“The wild bees, they have this varroa mite, uncontrolled it will kill them.
“This funny weather means the varroa mite has been breeding all winter so instead of having the situation where the winter is a natural break, they’ve carried on breeding.
“Normally they would be shut down in October or November.”
The course will take place on Saturday, February 27, and Sunday, February 28.
The course costs £75 and covers the price of materials and lunch.
To sign up call 07713 117701.
A full list of pollen and nectar rich plants can also be found on the British Beekeepers Association’s website at www.bbka.org.uk