[permaculture] Feeding wild bees during Winter - how to do it?

Kelly Simmons kelly at bouldersustainability.org
Sat Oct 9 20:04:51 EDT 2010

There is no need to feed bees in the winter.  For the most part, they  
are in a semi-dormant cluster, are unable to fly anyway, and so would  
be unable to partake of your gift.  Bees cannot fly in temperatures  
below 50 degrees fahrenheit.  Unless your spring and summer have been  
unusually absent of flowering  trees and other plants, the bees will  
have put up more than enough food for the winter.  Wild bees have few  
needs that humans can supply!  How refreshing!

Bees are opportunists and if a food source is nearby and discovered  
before their winter dormancy, then they will definitely take advantage  
of the resource - hence the attraction of hundreds of bees to your  
compost pile.

If you are wanting to assist them, the best ways to do so are to  
protect the tree or cavity that they are nesting in, plant maple,  
linden and other flowering trees in their vicinity, locate a water  
source near their nest for spring, summer and fall that is set up to  
prevent them from drowning, and plant a variety of flowering medicinal  
plants such as catnip, mints, thymes and such so that they can self- 
medicate as they need to, and most especially lobby your neighbors NOT  
use pesticides and herbicides on their properties.

Hope this helps!

Boulder, CO

On Oct 5, 2010, at 9:28 PM, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:

> Feeding wild bees during Winter - how to do it?
> I discovered that I have on my 6 acre property more wild bees than I  
> thought (maybe they are those who swarmed from my hives and left for
> new homes as forest dwellers). I poured out two quarts of honey that  
> had ants in them onto a compost pile on a garden bed. Soon there  
> were hundreds of bees foraging for the honey. I have done this many  
> times but this is the first time I have seen any bees attracted to  
> the honey.
> Is it possible to feed wild forest-dwelling bees during the Winter?  
> I am in central NC USDA zone 6/7.
> LL
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