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Dandelions – Perfect Natural Bee Forage

Dandelions - Perfect Natural Honey Bee Forage Photographed by Bee Marvellous Worcestershire Bee Keepers

Dandelions, the much maligned flower that is the absolute must have forage for honey bees.

Plentiful and a fantastic self propogator, the Dandelion is just what the doctor ordered for honey bees. Having both nectar and pollen on board as a food source this is the honey bees stock in trade.

As many UK local authorities now have a policy of allowing verges and green spaces to grow without being trimmed through the spring and summer periods Dandelions are taking hold like never before. For our honey bee population this no bad thing and is to be welcomed.

If you don’t mind Dandelions and are planning to allow parts of your garden or land to go without being mowed Dandelions are likely to be the first wild flower to take hold. Feel free to fall in love with this flower as any visiting honey bees certainly will.

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Rhododendron Ponticum Non Native UK Species

In the interests of not just picking all the great bee forage flowers I thought I’d also talk about some flowers which aren’t great for honey bees. In this instance I’ve selective Rhododendron Ponticum, no doubt a beautiful flower but one which is not beneficial for our honey bees.

First introduced to the UK in 1763 the Rhododendron is an incredibly hardy plant which produces a toxin which is thought to act as deterrent to bee species which the plant does not have a preference for in its native environment.

In the case of honey bees Rhododendron nectar proves fatal once ingested. Bumble bees however are impervious to the plants toxic effects.

A further downside to the Rhododendron its incredible ability to propagate with the plant often generating forest like habitats of itself muscling out native UK plant species. In many parts of the UK Rhododendron clearance is now being undertaken to allow native plant species a better chance of getting established. Examples of Rhododendron clearance programmes can be found here: and here

If you’re looking for honey bee friendly forage steer clear of this one.

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Weigela ‘Bristol Ruby’ Blossom May 2023

Producing a delightful red blossom this is Weigela or “Bristol Ruby”. This is a non native species to the United Kingdom and was introduced in 1848 from the Far East.

This species is attractive to honey bees and produces a nectar and pollen which honey bees enjoy.

A super example of honey bee forage that flowers in late spring and through into June.

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Horse Chestnut Blossom May 2023

From our Bee Forage and Spring Flowers range of posts here we have Horse Chestnut Blossom from May 2023.

This is a wonderful example of Bee Forage at its best. A spring flower with a short flowering season of around 2 to 3 weeks. Horse Chestnut Blossom is a fantastic source of early forage that honey bees adore. What a super flower which is almost tropical in appearance and represents the ultimate symbiosis of bees and plant life. This flower once pollinated by bees turns into the much love conkers that kids can’t get enough of in the autumn.

This flip side of the relationship is the rather delicious honey bees are able to produce from this blossom. The best honey receives the most diverse forage and horse chestnut blossom is the perfect addition to honey bees forage options.

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Hosting Bees – Would You Like To Help Honey Bees?

Would You Like To Host Some Honey Bees?

If you like to have some honey bees on your land or property feel free to contact us to discuss how you might be able to become the home of these amazing insects.

We operate in Worcestershire in the United Kingdom and have apiaries dotted around the county.

The best sites are quiet with low levels of activity, with settings that have sun in the morning and shade in the heat of the afternoon.

If you would like to re-wild a location, have pollination requirements or are interested in giving honey bees a home we may be able to help.

Hosting sites often see huge beneficial changes when we introduce our honey bees including an overall increase in ambient wildlife, heightened levels of pollination with corresponding increases in crop yields and biodiversity.

In addition to the benefits to your local environment we’d be able provide a share of the honey the bees produce at your location.

Feel free to get in touch to find out more.