“O chestnut-tree …”

“O chestnut-tree, great rooted blossomer” WB Yeats

Although children must nowadays wear goggles, gloves and hard- hats to play conkers, your bees will throw caution to the wind as they make the most of the horse- chestnut, which will be flowering this month.

Each tree bears three forms of flower: male, female and hermaphrodite (with both male and female characteristics). Between them they will provide honeybees with generous amounts of pollen and nectar.

Some plants will only release (or dehisce) their pollen when the air temperature warms up. (For example,  dandelion  needs around 10°C.) But horse- chestnut presents its pollen, both night and day, whatever the temperature.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, your bees will find lavish amounts of resin on offer, from which they will produce propolis to glue together all of the hive parts that you want to separate.

Look out for bees coming back with heavy loads of brick-red pollen; a sure sign that they have found a horse-chestnut nearby

(Drawing: www.biolib.de)

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