Bees are industrious animals that contribute to the diversity of plant and animal life. Yet many people are afraid of them.
But who knows how to deal with the buzzing insects and a bee nest in the garden, has little to fear.
There are around 500 different bee species in Germany. Most of them live alone or in nest communities. They are called wild bees. Furthermore, there are state-forming bees such as the Western Honeybee and the bumblebee.
They are among the best known representatives. Mostly, however, the term “bee” means the Western Honeybee.
Bees on the property: How to behave properly
Honeybees are very useful animals. By collecting nectar and pollen they make a considerable contribution to the pollination of the plants. Nevertheless, they are undesirable in many gardens. Too big is the fear of stitches.
Many people find it difficult to accept a bee nest in the garden. As bees make an important contribution to preserving ecological diversity, they are protected. The animals and their nests must not be deliberately destroyed.
See the difference: wasp or bee nest?
Anyone who discovers a nest at the house or in the garden should first check whether it is a wasp or a bee nest. Honey bees rarely nest close to humans. It often turns out that the supposed bee nest is actually a wasp nest. Wasp nests are equipped with a protective cover.
Nevertheless, they look different depending on the wasp species. Some wasps build spherical or caliber-shaped nests, which they hang on, for example, a shrub or tree. But there are also species that build their nesting sites underground in Mice or Mole ways.
However, one thing that bee nests have in common is that they consist of wood fibers that have been spiked in, which is why they look papery and woody.
Bees do not build a protective cover around their honeycomb, so they usually hide their nests well. For example, they like to hang the honeycomb in hollow tree trunks. So they are hardly visible from the outside and well protected.
Bees and wasps cannot be distinguished only by the design of their nests. Their appearance is also different:
Tips for a peaceful coexistence of humans and bees
A bee nest on the property is no reason to panic. As a rule, the animals keep away from people – even if they enjoy grilled food or coffee and cake on the terrace.
Unlike wasps, bees are vegetarians. They feed exclusively on nectar and pollen. For this reason, the animals rarely get lost at our table. The following tips make it easier to interact with the buzzing insects:
- Avoid hectic movements and do not beat for the animals.
- Mark the place where the bee nest is by using a barrier tape. This will prevent you from getting too close to the nest by mistake.
- If the bee nest is near the house, it is worth installing mosquito screens on the windows.
- Cover sweet food and drinks, such as honey or lemonade.
- Wipe babies’ mouths and hands after eating and drinking.
- Avoid walking through the garden with your bare feet.
This is how honey is made
A bee flies in its search for nectar as long as the same flowering stock. It produces more or less pure varietal honey – and incidentally, the plants are pollinated with pollen. The collector sucks up the nectar and enzymes in her honey stomach split the juice into fruit and glucose.
On the floor, she chokes the nectar out again and gives it to younger female colleagues from inside. A beekeeper holds up honeycombs on which bees are sitting. A beekeeper holds up honeycombs on which bees are sitting.
Workers suck up the sweet juice
As the drop drifts from bee to bee, each adds some saliva to it. The enzymes contained in the saliva change the sugar spectrum of the growing honey.
Other workers suck the sweet juice several times and choke it out again. The honey gets so thick. The bees aerate the nascent honey by beating their wings until their water content drops to about 20 percent.
Then the bees close the honeycomb cell with a wax cover. Only now may the beekeeper lend a hand. Immature honey would ferment too quickly and would be inedible. The beekeeper releases the honeycomb from the wax and hurls it. He fills the honey in glasses.
To produce forest and fir honey, the bees milk aphids. These feed on the sap of the trees and excrete a sweet liquid, the honeydew. The bees absorb the juice and process it into fir honey, as they process flower nectar to blossom honey.
The bees swarm
Honeybee Apis mellifera has to visit an average of three to four million flowers for one kilogram of honey. If the yield is poor, it can be up to ten million flowers. In their search, a whole swarm covers long distances, which may be ten to twenty times the circumference of the earth.
In summer there are about 60,000 workers on the hive, each of whom spends a period of her life as a collector. A single bee colony can produce an average of 20 to 30 kilograms of honey a year.
Honey as a remedy
Honey is more than just a spread. Even the ancient Egyptians took advantage of the bacteriostatic effect of honey. They thus preserved the bodies of the deceased. Today honey is mostly used in natural medicine to treat bruises, burns and colds. But modern medicine also uses honey with great success in wound healing, as a study by the University of Bonn shows.
Honey has an antiseptic effect, because bees add a certain enzyme to nectar during honey production, releasing hydrogen peroxide in honey. This substance is known for its bacteriostatic effect. The honey not only kills germs, it probably also promotes cell growth in wound healing. How it happens is still unclear.
Honey Bee nest is good or bad luck?
Now that we have learned more about bees in general, we can say that their nests are definitely a good luck for all of us. If we are skilled enough they can even give us honey and make our day sweeter, so there is no reason to scare them away.
Unless, of course, you are allergic in which case it is better to call someone specialized to remove the nest from your home. At the end of the day, these hard-working creatures do so much for nature and us, that it would be a true shame to destroy their nest and scare them away. Among all insects, bees are definitely one of the greatest wonders of nature.