Spring is definitely in the air and it’s wonderful to see so many visitors walking around the Sanctuary during the Easter holidays.
How many of you have been driving around and been dazzled fields of Oild Seed Rape (OSR) turning bright yellow? If you’ve visited The Donkey Sanctuary, you certainly will have noticed a patchwork of fields across the valley as you drive up Trow Hill towards the Sanctuary.
Oil Seed Rape (OSR) is in full flower and honey bees and other insects will be making a B line to gather the first real source of nectar since last year, having to rely on their honey stores that they brought back home to get them through the winter months and into springtime. As their winter stores are depleted, this is a welcome sight to see for our honey bees who live in harmony alongside our donkeys. The bees will be stocking up on nectar from the OSR to help get them through the next few months until the real nectar flow starts in July.
The girls are also out and about working the dandelions in the gloriously covered paddocks around the Sanctuary. I always thought that bees stuffed pollen into a little basket they had on their back legs. Not so! The pollen sticks to the tiny hairs on the bee’s back legs which she brings back to the hive, pushes off with her front legs into an empty cell in the brood chamber for the workers to pick up and process for their needs inside the brood nest.
As well as feeding themselves, nectar (carbohydrate), pollen (protein) and water are mixed together by the bees to make what’s known as bee bread and fed to the young larvae before their cells are capped to emerge 21 days as young bees.
Here’s an interesting fact… A B line refers to the direction in which a bee flies after gathering nectar. Bees use the sun to navigate their way around and when they are ready to return to the hive they fly in a straight line back. This is why when someone is trying to get to their destination quickly they are said to be making a B line.
Enjoy the colour yellow!