We met up with our good friend and bee expert Ailbhe Gerrard from Brookfield Farm, to learn why we should always ‘Be Nice to Bees’!!
Why are bees so important?
So next time you bite into an apple or pick a blackberry you can thank the bees!Bees are clever, beautiful and important in their own right. Honey bees not only provide us with honey but they are immensely useful to humans in pollinating flowering plants (everything from apples to chocolate to grapes to zucchini). All the
other bees also help pollinate our flowers and trees and crops.
Does beeswax actually come from bees?
Yes, my candles are made from pure beeswax. Beeswax is absolutely made by bees - it forms the honeycomb cells they store honey in. Bees also use honeycomb cells to raise baby bees from eggs.
When the bees are finished with the honey comb we can melt it and filter it to make beautiful, natural beeswax candles.
Are there different types of bees?
Yes, there are lots of bees in Ireland. 98 species in total according to the National Pollinator Plan.
One is the honey bee, 20 are bumble bees and all the rest are solitary bee species.
Sadly, one third of our bee species are threatened with extinction.
How do bees talk to each other?
Bees use a variety of methods to talk to each other, as we do! They use a 'waggle dance' to show bees in the hive how to find a nectar source. They use pheromones to communicate, and their front legs and antennae too.
How long do bees live for?
Honey bees live up to 6 weeks in the summer, and autumn born bees last all through the winter. They help nurse the new bee population laid by the queen in the spring.
Do bees sting us?
Bees can sting to defend themselves - the females have a sting - but remember bees don't want to sting us, unless we disturb them or crush them accidentally.
How should we behave around bees?
Look carefully at bees - they are fascinating and clever and hard working. Don't try to kill them, or flail your arms when you hear or see a bee. Stay quiet and calm and generally they will just go about their business.
Recent research by scientists show that bumble bees can learn to play football for a reward! (source. www.nature.com)
Find out more about Ailbhe and bees at Brookfield Farm