Be Bee Friendly

Our neighbour planted two flowering cherry trees close to our boundary a couple of years ago. They are a welcome addition providing spring colour, early season nectar for bees and insects and perching stations for small birds (e.g. sparrows, blue tits and great tits) who also enjoy picking off the aphids.

Working in the kitchen garden, the noise from the visiting bees often drowns out other sounds. On closer inspection, it is clear the bees are busy on the left-hand tree and absent from the right-hand cherry.

The open flower structure of the left-hand cherry tree makes foraging for nectar the simplest of tasks for the bees. Whereas the double flower of the right-hand cherry presents more of a challenge especially for short-tongued bees such as bombus terrestis. Given the choice, the bees will be attracted to the single flower because it is easiest option. Bees may resort to nectar robbing to access the nectar from the double flowers but probably not while there are easier pickings only inches away.

To my mind, the single flower cherry is just as attractive, if not more so, than the double-flowered varieties. That also seems to be the opinion of the bees themselves!


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