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Bees In Your Garden








     Historically it’s only relatively recently that there has been a connection between bees and human beings. Honeybees have evolved over 100 million years, long before man inhabited the Earth.

     In ancient civilisations, bees held a sacred significance and mythical power. The Ancient Egyptians understood that honeybees were important go-betweens between life on Earth and life in the heavens. Gathering honey went beyond a practice focused on food supply and extended into a deeply spiritual relationship of care for both the ecological body of the planet and human bodies transitioning into the afterlife.

     Some of the earliest known records of honeybee /human interaction can be found in cave drawings dating back to around 10,000 BC. The drawings on the walls of the Cuevas de la Araña in southern Spain show early humans plundering wild bees' nests for honey.

     Today we relate to bees in fundamentally different ways; in fact, the range of attitudes is huge, extending from commercial beekeeping at one end of the scale right through to hosting bees in a private garden and seeking an inner connection with them.

Here at the NBKT, we lean towards the latter end of the scale. In the first of a series of features on ‘Bees in Your Garden’ we are going to explore what is required of being a 'host to bees'.

Re-Connecting with Nature

     Modern day technology, TVs, computers and smartphones have consumed our daily lives, and as a result, we have lost our connection with nature. It's a well proven fact that spending time outside amongst the trees or in the garden can be very beneficial for one's mental well-being. Attracting and observing birds in your garden has had a profound effect on many people struggling with the demands of daily life. Bees have a similar effect too.


Being A Bee Host

     Being a bee host in its true sense is very simple. A host is an observer of free-living bees following their natural inclinations, just as nature intended.  There is no human interaction needed.

     Some people may already be blessed with bees living in a cavity somewhere in the vicinity of their dwelling, whether it be an old oak tree in the garden or the roof space of their house.

     Here in Cornwall, local folklore considered having bees living in your house as a sign of good luck. Indeed when cottage cob walls were constructed a small cavity and entrance were incorporated into the structure for bees to inhabit.







     Before thinking about providing a habitat to host a colony of bees, one first needs to establish if the location is a suitable one. For honeybees to live a healthy existence they need a diverse source of organic nectar and pollen and fresh water.

     Bees can fly up to a distance of 3 miles for forage. Planting bee-friendly flowers and trees in your garden will certainly benefit the environment and other pollinators, but you might not necessarily see the bees you are hosting foraging on them. The wider landscape needs to be considered. Another consideration is the proximity of neighbours. The ideal place would be in a rural setting, but a detached house with a large garden in a village or small town location may also be suitable. If there are close neighbours it might be worth consulting them first. More often than not people will up for it.



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