We're buzzing about bees about Blickling
Just why are bees so important?
There are 20,000 known species of bees, of which about 270 species can be found in the UK. Bees are very important because they help in the production of about a third of our food. They do this by pollinating the flowers of things like peas, beans and oilseed rape, as well as many fruit trees. They also help to pollinate many of the wildflowers that we see in the countryside, helping to provide fruit and seeds for other wildlife such as birds and insects.
Solitary bees, as their name implies, live alone. Some of them look like honey bees and they will nest in small holes in walls, in pieces of wood or in the ground.
Bumble bees are far more sociable and live in colonies of up to 400 but with most being a lot less than this. Bumblebees are the largest bees that we see at Blickling and being up to about 2.5cm long are about twice the size of the honey bee.
Honey bees may live in a colony of up to 50,000 individuals and as well as living in the wild these bees are sometimes kept for the making of honey. To some extent they are domesticated and their natural behaviour makes them very suitable for man-made hives. Hives of honey bees are often kept in orchards and on fruit farms to ensure the best possible pollination of the plants so that there is plenty of fruit. Sometimes hives may be moved around to different locations so that the bees will pollinate nearby crops.
Just think what life would be like without bees...