Honey bees need trees!

It’s easy to take trees for granted as they stand majestically throughout the seasons. However they do not just provide us with ornament bearing flowers and fruit for our pleasure but provide a much needed food source for Honey bees.

Planting a collection of trees that flower for each month of the bees foraging year provides continuous forage for the bees throughout the year. Start off with Alder which has masses of pollen that is much needed early in the year when the bees are feeding their brood.

Amelanchier which is pretty provides lots of nectar which is collected to make honey stores for winter and then Whitebeam Lime Sweet Chestnut and Pride of India for the summer months.

It is believed that 5 or 6 trees provide more forage for bees than an acre of wildflower meadow. Its so much easier to plant a tree than to try and grow an abundance of flowers. Honey bees also use the sticky resin from buds and trees to produce propolis which varies in composition and colour from colony to colony season to season depending on the sources available.

This sticky resin is metabolised and then used to seal and protect the hive. Propolis has sterile qualities and therefore helps to keep disease and draughts at bay.Detailed below are trees which are beneficial to bees by season.

Early Spring:                          Alnus Corylus Cornus mas

Late spring / Early Summer:  Prunus Malus Mespilus Pyrus Cydonia Crataegus Sorbus Amelanchier.

Mid-Summer:                       Castanea Koelreuteria Liriodendron Tilia cordata Tilia platyphyllos.

Autumn:                               Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis

For more information on planting trees for bees please visit the British Bee Keepers Association Website.

You can Download this information as a Fact Sheet from the BBKA below.