Bee blog for September: An Indian Summer

The honey crop has been harvested and now is the time to prepare the bees for the winter. The year has been challenging but ultimately rewarding both in the garden and the apiary. Our early September heat wave has turned into an Indian summer. The borders are a profusion of colour, all the effort has been worthwhile. It is delightful to see the bees enjoying the blooms so late in the year. Lots of pollen is available and hopefully some nectar as well. Both will augment the winter stores now safely secreted away in the hives.

Of particular benefit to the bees in September in the Southland Lodge garden are the sedums. It is not uncommon to see six or more foragers on a single flower head. The contented hum of their activity adds a welcome interest to the garden beds; augmenting sound to the sight and scent of sensory delights.

Flowers being enjoyed by the bees at Southlands in September:

  • Cosmos
  • Sunflowers
  • Dahlias
  • Marigolds
  • Geraniums
  • Japanese Anemone


Further afield the bramble continues to prove a useful source of food for the colonies, as does the wild honeysuckle.

Ivy is just about to come into flower here in East Surrey. This is an important end of season nectar flow for the bees. The weather forecast for the next 10 days is fair which means that the ivy honey can be exploited to the full adding an important extra boost to the stores of winter food for the hives. On a warm day in the coming weeks it is well worth looking out for ivy in bloom. The flowers are small and easy to miss but you will be drawn to the frantic activity and buzzing of all sorts of insects enjoying the late feast. The musky scent of the ivy may take you by surprise, it certainly does a good job of attracting all sorts of pollinators.

Please do leave a little wild ivy in parts of the garden that are out of the way. The insect wildlife will be grateful and you will benefit from some attractive foliage be bring into the house at Christmas. Ivy with berries is a most attractive addition to the festive decorations of Southlands Lodge; draped over picture frames and included in the yule log dinner table centrepiece, it is always a winner.

We hope you have enjoyed Colin’s Bee Blogs this summer. You can read them all, and lots more about our bee-friendly gardens, by clicking the link below. 



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