Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beech trees humming with bees

If you take a wander past the beech trees in Roland's Wood on these summery days you'll hear the busy hum of thousands of bees.

It needs a better photographer than I am to capture the buzz of activity, but you can just see one in this picture, and trust me when I say that there were dozens more all zooming all around...

They are collecting honeydew, a sugary, sticky liquid which is exuded by woolly aphids - you can see their white fluffy bodies on the undersides of the leaves and along stems, and the sticky coating of their honeydew making the leaves all shiny. In this picture you can even see a droplet of it funneled down a leaf to the branch, ready to splash down and varnish the leaves below, making them irresistible to the bees.

The honeydew can become covered with black sooty mould which may look bad but once it gets colder and the aphids go, the mould dries up and falls off the plant.

Isn't it great to think of Roland's Wood providing such bounty for bees which are having a harder time of it these days...


  1. I really like this. I'm in the UK and have honeybees and a couple of huge beech trees. They were prodigious in their production of nuts last year and I was wondering if it was anything do with getting bees! I think your blog has answered this for me. 😀 Thank you.

  2. Your blog has been most useful. I was wondering why I had so many beech nuts last year. It coincided with the arrival of my honey bees. Thank You 😀 (UK)

  3. Just walked past a line of beech trees while taking the dog for a walk. 100s of bees. This blog explains why! Thanks so much