Sunday, June 08, 2014

Bee-ing busy

Sun Hill honeycomb May 14 1

Ever since I rescued three feral honey bee colonies from Sun Hill, the aged person's unit in Sunniside which is being demolished (the new building next door is now occupied by the Sun Hill residents), I have had calls from residents wanting to buy honey and asking for advice on bumble bee colonies in their gardens. Today, for example, I am visiting three different houses in the Whickham/Sunniside area to take a look at bumble bee colonies. Previously we have visited properties in Blaydon and Dunston. I am also getting messages from people via Facebook.

Many people have put up bird nest boxes only to find that instead of the birds moving in, it has been occupied by bees instead. My advice generally is to leave them alone. They will die out by the autumn. Typically, the bees will not bother you as long as you don't bother them.

Pollinators generally have suffered sharp declines in numbers over the past few decades and particularly in recent years, though last year saw a reverse in the decline. Numbers of bumble bees increased and the very mild winter meant that many more bumble bee queens have survived to set up nests this year.

Photo above - me last month with some of the honeycomb from one of the feral bee colonies I rescued at Sun Hill.

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