I love bees. Some day, I will keep bees. (Some day I’d also like to keep bats, but maybe I shouldn’t do both at the same time, mm?) Until then, I have to settle for taking care of the wild bees.
About a week ago, the weather finally started to warm up. Not one of those fluke 70-degree days in January, but a good, sturdy March day pushing into the 60s. These are the days when you know spring is really on the way in (especially when such days are preceded or followed by six inches [or feet] of snow).
My garden boxes, empty and covered with leaves for the winter, were suddenly full of prowling bees.
“No, bees!” I cried. “Stay home! It isn’t spring enough yet! There aren’t any flowers for you!”
I worry about the bees.
But the nice weather has persisted all week, and for some reason, the bees keep looking for food in my empty garden boxes. I imagine the moldering leaves smell sweet and possibly tasty, but I can’t imagine they actually are either of those things.
Remembering some info I read about bees in the past, I did a bit of looking and discovered that yes, bee keepers do supplement their bees’ diets from time to time, especially in early spring. With what? Sugar water! I can do that.
So I put out a frisbee full of sugar water (after perusing several apiary forums to make sure I wouldn’t screw it up and accidentally poison the bees). The frisbee (‘scuse me, “flying disc”) was bright orange, and I thought that might attract them. Y’know, like flowers.
I watched the frisbee and I watched the bees. They completely ignored it. They keep nosing around the dead leaves as if that was so much more interesting than a bright orange disc full of tasty, fake nectar. So I put a little of the sugar water on some of the leaves around the disc, and a few of the leaves into the disk. The bees immediately took interest in the water on the leaves around the disc.
I was running late for work, so I contented myself that they could probably figure it out from there.
When I came home eight hours alter, my frisbee was completely empty. I was confused. Had the neighborhood kids come over and spilled it all out? Maybe a dog had come by for a snack? Had the leaves I’d draped over the sides somehow wicked the water out into the surrounding leaves? It couldn’t have evaporated – only a few sticky smudges remained in the bottom.
Rather disheartened, I filled the frisbee again and set it out. Perhaps it had been eaten up by the bees.
When I left the house this morning, I nearly fell over from surprise. Apparently word had spread, and my bee-feeder was full of bees.
Huh. Somehow it looks less full of bees in the photo than I remember it looking. Here, have a close-up:
I took these photos when I came home at 11:20 to pick something up. No liquid remained in the frisbee by then, the bees were licking on the damp leaves to get whatever was left.
And down the hill, in the tree where I know they have their hive, the bees are flying happily in and out and I’m a little less worried that they’ll starve before the daffodils bloom.
Yay bees! Don’t forget me when it’s squash-pollinating time.