How to Help Summer Foragers
Summer is in full swing and so are hardworking pollinators. While you relax by the pool, honey bees are busy gathering food to prepare for winter. Honey bees forage all summer to obtain the food needed for colony growth, and they store a surplus of honey as food for winter. Here are a few ways you can lessen their workload this summer:
Feed a Bee
If you weren’t able to get your garden in gear for spring, there is still time to plant flowers to help bees find food during the summer. Go to FeedABee.com to order a free pack of wildflower seeds (while supplies last) to start a bee buffet in your backyard. Most seed packets should be delivered two to three weeks after the order is placed.
Water the Bees
The summer heat can be unbearable for humans, so while you’re working up a sweat, think how hot the bees must be. During hot summer days, the colony temperature needs to stay around 93° F. To make that happen, the bees collect water and spread it on the outside of the hive. The water then evaporates and cools the cluster as it’s exposed to circulating air. So, if you’re having some especially dry days, be sure to leave some water out for the bees around the flowers they’ll be visiting.
Be Careful Where You Step
Bees like to hang out in your lawn, especially if you don’t mow often. Many weeds are good sources of pollen and nectar for bees, and you can help a bee out by delaying your yard chores to lengthen the amount of time grass and flowers are available for pollinators. If you choose to take the path less mowed, just take a little more care in where you walk and keep an eye out for our pollinator friends.
Leave Them Be
Because summer is a pivotal production time for bees, you may see more bees than in the fall or winter. If you see the bees in action this summer, please leave them to their work. Winter is coming, and they have a lot to do to make sure they are prepared. We all get to enjoy the fruits (and nuts and vegetables) of their labor, and the least we can do is to give them their space.
Now, before you set out for your summer vacation, take a minute to give the bees a helping hand. As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to help. It may even lighten your workload and add a few more minutes’ enjoyment to a lazy summer day.
If you’d like to learn more about summer bee health:
Three things every bee-ally and beekeeper should know this summer
Bringing Honey Bees Successfully through the Winter
Seasonal Cycles of Activities in Colonies
5 Simple Actions for Pollinators