The colony in my Kenyan Top Bar Hive has come through its second winter and is now expanding itself in preparation for Spring.For a while last month, I was beginning to doubt whether the colony had come through the winter intact as, while bees from other
The colony in my Kenyan Top Bar Hive has come through its second winter and is now expanding itself in preparation for Spring. For a while last month, I was beginning to doubt whether the colony had come through the winter intact as, while bees from other colonies were out and about on flowers on milder days, there was very little activity at all to be seen from this hive. Maybe on or two bees a day coming or going from the entrance. All that changed, finally, in early March. In the afternoon of a mild day, there was an unexpected eruption of enthusiastic young bees pouring out of the hive entrance to take their maiden flights. Bees use this very first orientation flight to recognize their home before gradually increasing their roaming range, foraging and navigation skills over the next few days. That's why you can see them in this short video simply hovering in front of the hive and facing it on this their very first flight. Young bees are similar to young Scouts as they too learn basic mapping and navigation skills, in preparation for working cooperatively as a team able to survive on what they can forage in Nature. One month on, and today I can see a steady flow in and out of the hive of these same bees, now gathering pollen and nectar, and rebuilding the colony's strength. Bees are an incredible species and, if we are truly to call ourselves Global Citizens, we must respect them and learn to live in harmony with them, instead of continuing to degrade and, in places, even destroy their natural habitats. In the wild, bees will often choose to build their nests in hollows in trees. That's right, they are woodland dwellers and a man-made hive is not their traditional home! With Earth Day 2015 coming up just around the corner, on 18 April, make a promise this year to "Bee Kind to Bees". Even if you don't have space available to plant an entire forest, you could perhaps find a peaceful corner in your neighbourhood where you can sow seeds of some bee-friendly flowers or maybe plant a flowering shrub or two? Look after them, help them grow and, hopefully, you'll be rewarded when they flower with the sight of some of the planet's most industrious creatures flying in to gather all that goodness from them. Get the buzz! Sing it with me: "All we are saying, is give BEES a chance..." (With respectful apologies to the memory of John Lennon, particularly on behalf of those who might be old enough not to have to respond with "Who?")
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