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JW 04 OEG 

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Hi. My name is John.

I am a complete novice when it comes to bees and know nothing about them

My mum has a few Apple trees and complains they don't produce much so I have been looking at ways to attract bees into the garden to help pollinate them. I am keen to get some bees but not for a while as I want to learn about them how to look after them etc.

I am currently trying to buy some wildflowers to sow to encourage them into the garden and want to make an area which can feed them if I get them and joined this site to learn about the various aspects of bee keeping.

I also know there are bee associations and hope to make contact with a local one perhaps during the summer to try and build my knowledge of bees how they behave and how to deal with them

I look forward to reading the posts here and learning about this hobby
 

Jimy Dee 

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John - you are very welcome to the forum. I find it very informative. You have started a lovely craft and the only advise I will give you (and I am going to be shot by some for saying this) is that beekeeping is really simple (at a basic hobby level - which some of us never want to leave) and dont be put off by all the "rules" that some will lead you to believe exist and have to be obeyed. Just get a hive and delve in - if you can get a mentor all the better. I never had a mentor and started as a teenager with a wild swarm and ted hoopers book -nothing like reading a book standing at an open hive and wondering what I was looking at while being "attacked" by bees. Great craic.
Jim
 

BeeJayBee 

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My mum has a few Apple trees and complains they don't produce much so I have been looking at ways to attract bees into the garden to help pollinate them.
Why not build some sort of insect habitat? Bundles of hollow canes and twigs will provide nesting places for all sorts of insects, including pollinators.

You can get some idea from this google search

Once you've done that you'll be able to spend some time learning about honey bees and how to look after them. You could even put a bait hive in your garden, you might be lucky enough to attract a swarm.

Good luck. :)
 

Davelin 

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My understanding is that apple trees are mainly pollinated by honeybees as they flower too early in the season for bumbles and others to be established.

No harm in encouraging other pollinators, but don't think it will help the apples.

(Correct pruning is just as important)
 

sussexbaker 

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My understanding is that apple trees are mainly pollinated by honeybees as they flower too early in the season for bumbles and others to be established.
I could be wrong but I thought bumbles started flying a lot earlier then honeybees?
 

Erichalfbee 

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a few Apple trees and complains they don't produce much so

Maybe the varieties are incompatible.
A good ploy is to plant one or two crab apples which fertilise most other apple varieties.
I agree that pruning may help.
Prune in the summer for growth and in the winter for fruit.
If you shorten all the lateral branches to two buds now you fool the tree into producing more flowers than it would normally do.
 

Davelin 

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I could be wrong but I thought bumbles started flying a lot earlier then honeybees?
Well remember that with bumble bees only the queens overwinter so they have to start from scratch in the spring to build up a colony.

They may well fly earlier, I don't know, but the number of potential pollinators is much much lower than honeybees.
 

JW 04 OEG 

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Wow. Thank you for the kind welcome I hadn't thought about bumblebees or honey bees yet. It seems I have a lot to learn

I am thinking about planting wildflowers and seeds and getting plants established that will help feed them and trying to put some twigs and wood down as suggested as a place for them to attract them and I have also read I would be better to install some water source like a bee bath to try and attract them

I will be pruning the trees shortly I read if I prine in feb it helps the fruit (not sure it this is right or not) but I also read somewhere but can't find it again so would appreciate it if anyone knows for sure that bees that "feed" on Apple blossom have something in their honey which we can't eat so their honey would be no use I am thinking if I am allowed to get bees I prob won't take the honey from them the first year anyway will concentrate on learning to keep them but know In future years I would probably look to harvest honey.

The deseases I have read about scare me a little so I need to work out what type of bee would be best and how to care for them and deal with the various problems that arise think a course may be in order lol
 

Erichalfbee 

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I also read somewhere but can't find it again so would appreciate it if anyone knows for sure that bees that "feed" on Apple blossom have something in their honey which we can't eat so their honey would be no use
Honey is usually harvested in the late summer (unless you have oil seed rape planted locally.....which is a different beast)
So....any nectar gathered in the early spring such as willow and fruit tree is used by the bees and doesn't appear in your harvest.
It is, of course, of use to the bees :)
 

JW 04 OEG 

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Thank you for your help. That makes me feel better. At least I now know what I am thinking about is at least possible

At the minute I am trying to get seeds and plants to sustain them and will build on these when I know more

Thanks for all your help. Sorry for daft questions
 

Arfermo 

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As above, get Ted Hoopers book "Guide to Bees and Honey". For now, apart from joining a local BKA, get reading that book and you won't need much else.
 

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