Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

dry weather - bad for bees

veronica spicata - supporting bees in spite of the dry weather

veronica spicata - supporting bees in spite of the dry weather

Its been a really dry July so far and I am sure many of you have also noticed that the plants are showing the results; many are finishing flowering early and other just look sad and limp. At rosybee this seems to even include the tough native echium vulgare which has a deep tap root and is designed to cope with very well draining chalk downland, but after flowering for 7 weeksit is looking very crispy now (below)

Another effect of dry weather is that the plants are unable to produce much nectar - its a water based substance and they simply cannot produce it if they are thirsty. This then has a knock-on effect on all the pollinators too. The bees and other insects still keep visiting the flowers but get much less return for their efforts although is some case the nectar will just be more concentrated. Supply a source of water for the bees - shallow dish with gravel for them to stand on - helps but does not off-set lack of the carbohydrate the nectar provides.

I have noticed that the bees at rosybee seem to be zipping from flower to on dry plants as if it only takes a second to clear them out.  There are some other plants, probably the more established ones that they are lingering on though; amongst these are the betony (stachys officianalis), scabious columbaria -both native wildflowers but good for gardens - and veronica spicata all of which are being mobbed by bees this week.

by rosi