Nectar sources: not all that glitters is gold

Today another topic that I care much and I am sure you are interested you too in: the importance of following seasonality and letting different nectar sources for bees.

Nevertheless, before starting, I wanted to share a memory of mine with you. A year ago, right before starting my reclusion (9 month of Smartworking), we were in Italy for the birthday of my dad, that is on 15th October. When we drive to Italy, we generally go by car. Despite the many hours driving, it is still the best option for us. During the travel, I love watching the surrounding landscapes. It makes me smile passing from the German hop plants, to the apple trees in Trentino and then the vineyards in my region. And right a year ago, during our travel to Bergamo, when we were more or less in Bayern, I saw huge expanse of yellow. Fields with a wonderful bright yellow. Huge shining rapeseeds fields. One of the favourite nectar sources of bees. “wow! Look Bastiii, what a wonderful yellow!”. “well, it´s not such a nice thing you know?”

“Ah!” Enthusiasm shoot down in less than a second.

Ok, now before keeping on reading, I would like that you find an explanation on your own. Why did Basti answer this way? What´s wrong?

When we shouldn’t be so happy about nectar sources?

Have you ever heard about a blooming rapeseed field in October? Moreover here, that it’s colder and colder already now and there is a high temperature difference between day and night (especially for my Italian tastes)? Bees don’t know which season is. If there is a nice warm day (because in any case here too sun exists, from time to time), they fly out and they find an endless carpet of colourful flowers, they get completely confused. They start to harvest nectar like fools and to let the sisters in the hive know that ´ehy Spring has already started!`. If you were a bee and you see endless fields of nectar sources, wouldn´t you simply dive into it? However, most probably if you are among the last bees, still out later in the afternoon, when the air starts to get fresher, you won´t be able to be back to your  hive because you will die ealier for the cold temperature.

But so…why these rapeseeds fields in autumn?

Many farmers have received or receive European and/or national helps, for using some pieces of their lands for bee-friendly plants in exchange. A kind of reward for being bee-friendly. The idea in itself is very nice, a good way to encourage who has lands in supporting bees. Nevertheless, many decide to exploit their fields with their plantations till they need, then once the harvest is over, they plant something that bees may appreciate. In this way they did what they had to and…we get rapeseeds fields in October. Consider that this generally blooms in full spring. Do you perceive that there is something wrong in this all?

the nectar sources in our village
The boulevard of cherry trees surrounded by rapeseeds in our village – Spring 2021

SOS nectar sources: various and essential, but never at random

Where till the beginning of the last century, there were big woods or huge green forests, nowadays we find a completely different scenario in most of the cases. Especially with the economical boom, after the second World War, mankind started to build more and to exploit intensively lands for plantations. And here the smile for the hop plants, the apple trees and the grapes get a bit bitter. For any endless land covered by plantations, we would need even more full of endless varieties of plants and flowers. Why? To grant as many nectar sources as possible for all pollinators. Different and placed homogenously along the different seasons. To make it clearer: apple trees are absolutely bee-friendly plants, bees adore them with no doubts. However, they bloom in spring, for some weeks… and then? If bees are in a area basically with only this kind of trees, how could they survive?


But don´t forget there is something nice in this all, you know? Yes because you, in you daily life you can do really much, by planting bee-friendly plants or flowers for example. You could also try to sensitise about this topic the administration of your town. You could also buy fruits and vegetables from little local producers together with taking care of your own vegetable garden. Soooo many things 😊 and now tell us: are there many plantations at your place? Have you any bee-friendly plant on your terrace or garden?

A hug,

the Gaeblini

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