The Daffodil’s Newest Residents – The Honey Bees
Last Easter we were lucky to gain some new hotel residents in the shape of thousands of honey bees that are certainly not checking out anytime soon!
With 3 brand new hives on our grounds and more than 6,000 honey bees to deal with originally, our hands were definitely full. But why have we welcomed them you might ask?
Supporting the Honey Bees
It is so important that everyone around the world gets together to support the honey bee and support its mere existence. As their numbers are rapidly declining in our current conditions and they hold so much importance to our day to day activities, it really is important that we learn more about the honey bee and how we can all play our part in keeping them thriving.
What Is the Honey Bee’s Purpose?
You might be thinking why honey bees and why at The Daffodil? Well, we were made aware of the decline of honey bees a while ago and really we were quite shocked at how easy it is to support them.
The Honey Bee is a common sight in most woodland areas, gardens and basically anywhere during the spring and summer months. They have been on this earth for more than a million years and have been doing what they do best ever since – pollinating.
The pollination process is what the world needs the most from the honey bees because it does so much more than create the sweet honey for us all to eat and we will explain why.
What Is Pollination?
The art of pollination is a must for plants to reproduce and grow. This process occurs when a bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower and stamens (the male part) of the plant in the little hairs on their legs. They then transfer this nectar and pollen to other plants and flowers female parts such as the stigma or the pistil and then fertilisation can start to create a fruit or new seeds.
The flowers and plants attract the bees by having open tubular flowers to give the bee somewhere to land and provide the bee with thick pollen or nectar. The scent of the flower can also draw in the bees and bright colours will show a sign to the bee to make their way in.
Why Do We Need Pollination?
The world needs pollination and here is why! Food, energy, medicine and even the air we breathe relies on the art of pollination from bees and if we don’t start to wake up to the fact, we could soon face the consequences.
Pollination accounts for 1/3 of the food we eat and without it we could be saying bye to broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, apricots, strawberries, apples, tomatoes and surprisingly even almonds to name a few. If we were to have to manually take care of this process, it is estimated to cost farmers around £1.8 Billion per year to do just as good as job as the bees. All seems very expensive doesn’t it!
What Do We Need Honey For?
Honey is not a necessity as such but it is being used in more and more situations as the world evolves. Once deemed a waste bi-product of pollination, honey is now widely used in various dishes, ingredients and even for medicinal purposes. With its high energy content, honey has an endless purpose and really is useful just as much as pollination is.
Why Are The Honey Bees In Danger?
There are numerous reasons why the honey bee is in grave danger and the first is the climate we live in. The bee is used to surfacing and carrying out its duty in the spring and summer months but with the ever changing climate we live in, these seasons are always changing and the bee just simply can’t keep up.
Some flowers and plants are flowering earlier than expected and some maybe even later and without the bees knowing, they are missing out on quality feeds and pollination processes.
Another reason they could be in danger is due to the lack of safe spaces left for them to call home. Without the man-made homes or units, they often find shelter in hollow trees and other quieter places. With the fast rapid incline of deforestation and urbanisation, bees are struggling to find somewhere to call home and therefore, they cannot continue to pollinate either. This increase in urbanisation also brings with it an increase in invasive farming methods and also pesticides and diseases which are slowly killing the bees.
The Bees at Home at The Daffodil Hotel
All of the above reasons are why we here at The Daffodil, have given the bees somewhere to call home. We currently have three perfect little bee homes thriving with honey bees that have been at our hotel since Easter 2019. We originally started with around 2,000 bees per unit which we estimate has now increased to 30-40,000 in total! (Imagine, if they wanted to check in for spa night away!)
We have 12 members of staff who are fully trained to put on the full suits, head out to the hives and harvest the honey safely without disturbing the art of pollination or scaring the bees in the process. The bees are known to fly within a 500m radius of their hives and often travel over the meadows nearby to find new flowers and plants to pollinate.
We intend to keep supporting our local honey bees for years to come and hopefully make lots of precious honey to use in our dishes. Executive Chef Graham says he will love to use the honey in a variety of seasonal deserts and we can’t wait to taste them!
How Can I Help Honey Bees?
If you are wanting to follow in our footsteps and play your part in helping the honey bees, its really easy to do so! You can take simple steps like filling your garden with bee friendly flowers, including the beautiful foxgloves, birds foot trefoil and red clovers. You could also provide a shelter for them to use as their next home, just make sure it is dry and in a warm, sunny place for them to move in and become the new permanent tenants.
One final way in which you can help is by helping those bees that need a little more support than the others. If you see a bee on its own, slowly moving or just still all together, it might not necessarily be dead or poorly. These bees have just simply ran out of energy on their rounds of pollinating and need a little pick me up to get them on their way. All you need to do is mix 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar in 1 tbsp. of water and put it near the bee for it to feed on. In no time at all you will help will one fuzzy little bee back to health and back on its way to helping the world turn round.