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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Supplemental Feeding To Help Bees Prepare For Winter - Wasps And Hornets Get Some Too

The news always mentions bees disappearing. I try to grow heirloom flowers that attract pollinators. I do not use pesticides in my garden or lawn.

So as the leaves change, bees scramble for last minute food to store for the winter.

The garden is in Hardiness Zone 4B. Temperatures can each -29F. The frost line is 4 1/2 feet deep.

I leave some maple syrup or honey out in a sunny spot to give the bees some extra food when there are no flowers left.

I put paper towels down and spread honey in globs or lines. The paper towel keeps it from running off the surface. The lines and globs minimizes territorial protection. The big European hornets keep anyone except nest mates away from them. The yellow jackets and honey bees tend to develop their own areas.

This is what happens when the honeybees defend a big blob of honey. They shield it from everyone not related to them.

And as a bonus, other insects show up; hornets, bald-face hornets, flies

To learn more about these insects and how then help your garden grow, click on the links provided

Wasps information link: Cornell Agriculture Paper: Wasps Of New York State And Some Relatives

European hornets and yellow jackets feeding on honey
European hornet link: Penn State Department Of Entomology European Hornet Link

Yellow jacket link: Penn State Department Of Entomology Yellowjackets Link

Bald-face hornets show up. Look at the size difference between the hornets and the yellow jacket !!

Bald-face hornet link: Penn State Department Of Entomology Bald Face Hornet link

Yellow jackets tend to be the first insects at the spot in the early morning. Then a couple of honey bees arrive as the sun acscends into the sky. By early afternoon the hornets arrive. Then the place is full of honey bees. Rain keeps them away. At night some yellow jackets spend the night due to the chilly air. The sun warms them up and they start their foraging all over again.

I loved to watch insects as a child. The garden enables me to continue my interest and watch these amazing creatures !!

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