But it was not only that, I suddenly thought - the tomatoes would need bees to pollinate the flowers - there are no bees in winter - well, none that I have ever noticed.
|photo from http://www.sabeekeeper.co.za/|
So I decided to google "where do bees go in winter", and came up with the following three sites:
Basically, the worker bees create a "laarger"*. Every worker bee in the hive (except for the drones and the queen bee, naturally) is involved in ensuring that the centre of their hive stays cool enough in summer and warm enough in winter.
To air condition the hive in summer, bees will gather on the outskirts of the hive and fan it madly with their wings in order to create a draft in the hive, and in winter the bees will cluster round around the queen bee in order to keep the center temperature at around 27oC (80oF). The worker bees rotate from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold. The outside edges of the cluster stay at about 8oC (46-48oF). The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes.
So... I learnt something today.
The bees are still around in winter - they're just busy being useful to their hive.
Busy, busy bees indeed :-)
We really should take care of them better - for they are all our futures.
They are mainly attracted to purple and blue flowers, followed by yellow and orange. Aubergines have lavender coloured flowers, tomatoes, squash / pumpkins and marrows are yellowy-orange - I've decided that I am definitely going to have at least one of each of these plants in my garden each summer - if only for the bees sake. And strictly organic vegetable growing - for the chemicals in pesticides don't help anyone or anything one iota.
And I'm going to check each morning that my bird bath is full - bees need a drink too.
Without them we would have no pollinated crops and no seeds for the future. And I would surely miss not being able to grow my own tomatoes, aubergines, peas, beans, squash, pumpkins, strawberries, etc.
*A "laarger is a circle formed to protect the internal area of the circle. The name is derived from the dutch settlers who travelled this country in ox wagons - at night they would create a laarger with the wagons, in order to protect the members of their party from wild animals / indigenous people.