In 2018 we will be looking at how we can best encourage and support bees. One of the major considerations is the flowers now which bees need to flourish. There is much advice out there; here is one such very informative site – Rosybees Plants for bees. This is the result of 4 years detailed analysis.
The taster graphic below should interest you enough to go to the full report
Make a selection of plants, and sow some seeds!! Make sure the seeds are organic.
Check out Rosybee’s “Bee plants by month” – this is what they say about February
Snowdrops, and other early flowering bulbs such as winter aconites and then crocuses are some of the first flowers of the year. At this time of year, hopefully your bees are not starving but they will be surviving on mainly on honey or fondant for a while which is pure carbohydrate. To start healthy growth of brood numbers they will need the protein that comes from pollen. These small flowers may take a time to bulk up and provide a plentiful feast for the bees but at this time of year small quantities of pollen are just enough to give them a bit of a boost until the rest of the spring flowers bloom.
Other very important group of plants that might begin to flower in February is the trees. As the blossom begins – particularly the willows with their catkins – they will soon become the main food supply for all bees in spring.
If you have wallflowers planted in a previous years, they may also begin to flower from February, depending on the variety. The native wallflower; cheiranthus cheirii, tends to be an early flowerer but I have also known Bowles Mauve, another reliable wallflower for bees, flower now too.
I have only seen honey bees so far this year. Have you seen any other bees out yet?
thebuzz (at) bees.wellow.org