Buzzing bees, colourful spring blooms and buds on the trees all mean one thing – Spring. Hidden away in our hives, our honeybees have been snuggling together to keep warm, surviving on the honey they stored throughout the year so they could make it through the winter months. But now they’re back and ready to work through their busiest time of the year.
Here, our beekeeper lifts the lid on our hives to reveal what honeybees get up to in the Spring and why it is the most important time of the year.
Why do we start to see honeybees buzzing around in Springtime?
From April to mid-June honeybees do most of their work. It’s a time when they make all their honey so they can survive through the winter months when there is no pollen to gather. A worker bee (the females) can visit around 2,000 flowers a day but have to return to the hive a number of times to dispose of the supply they have foraged.
The bees also collect water to regulate the temperature of the hive and liquefy thick or granulated honey from the winter.
Why is Spring the most important time for honeybees?
As well as making their honey, it is also the time that the queen bee mates and produces eggs so that the colony can grow. As the colony expands so does the number of young bees so there are more worker bees to search for and collect the pollen.
What are the male bees up to?
Male bees, or drones, eat honey and wait for the opportunity to mate with the queen. They will compete with one another, flying after the queen and even attempting to mate with her in mid-air. If they mate successfully, they die.
How can we help bees in Spring?
Don’t be tempted to spring clean your garden too early. Dandelions, often seen as a weed, are an important nectar provider and can be their first source of food after a long winter.
Plant flowers honeybees love like daffodils, sunflowers and honeysuckles.