15 August 2014

Water for Bees

There's been a lot said and written about the terrible collapse in bee colonies and the reduction in bee numbers that threatens to disrupt human food supplies. About forty per cent of what we consume relies on bees for pollination. Farmers are reduced to importing bees from foreign countries to make up the numbers. This practice has its own implications for native populations.

Nothing to do with me, I hear you say. What can I do about it?

You can help provide them with food and water.

Food can be some flowers in a window box. There's lots of information on which flowers are best but I would suggest something that blooms either early or late, in other words when the bees are scratting about looking for food.

Water isn't something that is talked about much but bees need to drink. They can't even consume their own honey stores in the winter, unless they have water for dilution they can starve. Water is also important for keeping the hive cool in summer.

Bees will collect water wherever they can find it. Ponds and large tanks of water drown lots of bees because their perception of polarised light is poor and they fly into them. They need a shallow water source with no ripples to wash them away. They have to drink and will put themselves at risk to do so.

A simple sloping ramp, floating wood or pond weed can let the bees land safely and walk to the edge to drink. Take a look at the water around where you are and see if you can make it a bit easier for bees to access.

You can make a difference!

Image Primo Masotti  maso101@libero.it