The bees need your help

We need the bees for pollination. Nearly all fruits and vegetables depend on insects for pollination. No pollination no fruit

No honey bees, no honey

Insects are part of our diverse and wonderful planet

This is something everyone can do, starting now

Asiatic hornets (Frelon Asiatique) are gradually spreading and they kill and eat bees, destroying whole hives. You can spot the nest during the winter months, less easy when the leaves are on the trees. We have one on the other side of the stream, directly opposite the bee hive. Normally near some kind of water, these nests are very large and round, high up in the tree. You might think it is a bird’s nest, but look closely and you will see it is completely round. There is not a lot you can do with a nest found at this time of year as the hornets have left. A nest found in the spring and summer is likely to be active, and you should notify your Mairie. Different departments have different policies for their destruction. In the meantime, you need to make some traps. Use some of those empty plastic milk bottles you keep throwing out. In the early spring hornet queens are vulnerable and can be caught in this kind of trap. See the diagram.

Model of simple trap for the queens of asiatic hornet to hang up from the 15th of february to the 15th of april or in autumn from the 15th of october to the end of november

Cut a plastic bottle about 3/4 up-transparent is good but you can use milk bottles-Cut a slot 7mm wide in bottle top-

put top half upside down in bottom half- You can use the bottom of another bottle to keep the rain off-

Heat a wire (it makes a clean hole) and push through the plastic to make a handle-

Put some beer in it or blackcurrant sirop and hang up

In the spring of 2013 we had about 15 of these traps in the garden and around in the woods. We didn’t noticeaby catch any, but we didn’t investigate too closely. However, we did not see any nests and more importantly we only saw 1 frelon asiatic. Our bees were fine.

Insects need food, especially early and late in the year when there are less wild flowers. All heathers are wonderful for bees and there are some early flowering ones. Pulmonaria flowers very early and stays in flower a long time. Look at your garden, see if you can plant more perennials and shrubs specifically attractive to insects. Many annuals are loved by insects, sow some hardy ones as soon as the weather is suitable. Marigolds, shirley poppies and cornflowers and then later on when it is warmer Zinnias and Cosmos. If you have some spare ground sow a flower mix.

If you have some spare time make up an insect hotel. This will give your solitary bees somewhere to hibernate, next winter. You can buy them, but much more fun to make your own. Goggle insect hotel for some ideas

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