What Are the Benefits of Manuka Honey?

The craze for manuka honey doesn’t seem to have been one of those fads that peaked and then disappeared along with many other ‘super-foods’. The benefits of Manuka honey are plentiful and it isn’t just in the things we eat, but also in the things we drink and apply to our bodies and our hair!

Manuka honey is a native of New Zealand and Australia but produced by European honey bees foraging on the manuka or tea tree.

The Benefits of Manuka Honey

It is thought that manuka honey can be used for many ailments, including healing sore throats – which many of you will know if you drink honey and lemon, digestive illnesses, curing staph infections and gingivitis. The raw unrefined honey contains amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phospherous, potassium, sodium and zinc. read more


Why Bees Are So Important for the Ecosystem

It is hard to underestimate the value of the humble bee. It provides us with food and beautifies our gardens. But our bees are being threatened. Colony collapse syndrome alone eliminated one third of honeybees in 2007, and 40% of bee colonies are dying every year due to this disorder. To make matters worse, the natural habitats of bees are being threatened by modern practices, including farming and urbanization.

Bees are herbivores, so they prey on plants to collect nectar, pollen, and honey to give them energy and feed the hive. They have natural predators as well, such as birds, larger insects, amphibians (such as frogs and newts), small mammals, and bears eager to collect their honey. read more


Carpenter Bees

The carpenter bees are members of the Apidae family. Most are black in colour with some having some yellow and white blend. These bees lay large eggs which are like the largest among insects.Just as leafcutter and mason bees, these bees are solitary bees. While the male cannot sting, the female can but rarely does sting unless provoked. These bees are also less hairy, unlike bumblebees. They do not form large colonies, and they bore into wood to make nests. They also excellent pollinators in native plant communities. read more


Leafcutter Bees and Mason Bees

These are harmless solitary bees that construct their cocoon chambers from where they lay their eggs. They are excellent pollinators of carrots, fruits, vegetables and alfalfa which is a great source of proteins in livestock pasture. Due to this, they are commonly used for commercial bee pollination. Unlike honeybees, these species do not produce honey, they do not live in colonies and do not also have a queen. However, they are quite similar to honey bees in appearance, but their abdomen’s underside is orange. Several species of leafcutter bees exist in Britain though it’s hard to distinguish them. These bees are one of the most cost-effective bees that anyone can raise. Housing them is quite cheap considering that you do not have to mind about purchasing protective gear as they do not sting. read more


Mining Bees

Just as the name suggests, mining bees dig into the ground where they reside. They build tunnels underground, and you can easily locate their entrances as you will note mounds of soil on the ground in the form of pots. These bees are also solitary and not aggressive. They can sting but only do so to protect their eggs. They are also great pollinators both for plants and flowers, and unlike honey bees, they do not stay in large colonies. Several species of these bees are common in Britain. They are similar to honey bees, but they are smaller in size. read more


Solitary Bees

As the name suggests, these types of bees do not live in large groups in comparison to others. They rarely sting, and if they do, it is weak. In fact, only the female ones can and are no threat to humans. Here are some examples of the species. Solitary bees are not rare, and there are over 267 Megachile xylocopoides

It is 13 millimeters in size and often feeds on green leaves. People commonly mistake it for the Carpenter bee which is also in the same group. It constructs its home using either a petal or leaf and is active from March to September. They are useful in pollination and are not aggressive. The Megachile xylocopoides is black in color. read more


The Bumblebee

Just like the honey bee, this type of species originates from the Apidae family. However, their colonies are not as big as those of the honey bee. Moreover, they are not aggressive, and they too bear different colours based on the type. In the world, there are roughly 300 species of bumblebees, while in the UK approximately 20 different species. In each of the species, the queen, workers and males all differ in appearance. The most common bumblebees in the UK include Buff-tailed bumblebee, Garden Bumblebee, Tree Bumblebee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, among others. Other than these types, other types of cuckoo bees commonly found in England include Field Cuckoo Bee, Red-tailed Cuckoo Bee, Forest Cuckoo Bee, Red-tailed Cuckoo Bee, among others. On the other hand, the least common bumblebees in the UK include Broken-belted Bumblebee, Shrill Carder Bee, Great Yellow Bumblebee, among others. Unlike honey bees, bumblebees do not make large combs of honey. However, they are considered to be great pollinators. read more


Honey Bees

This group of bees is fit for someone planning to keep bees with the intention of getting honey or for commercial purposes. They come from one big family named the Apidae and are also useful in pollination. They are commonly referred to as the social bees due to their behavior of living in colonies of up to 50, 000. There are many types of these, but the most common one in the U.K is the Apis Mellifera. It is found in most parts of northern Europe hence its nickname. The bee has unique features which include a small, thickset body and no yellow color. They have a pollen basket and have hair on the thorax. It has a dark brownish color with black accents. Nonetheless, the Northern European bee is aggressive thus requires a lot of effort to capture and maintain. read more


5 of the Most Common Bee Species Found in the UK

Bees, just like other insects exist in different species classified into various genera and families. While most of us are familiar with the honey bee, for its honey production, there are other several species of bees around the world. Based on statistics, approximately 25,000 species of bees exist in the world while in the UK there are about 250 different species. Ever wanted to find out some of the species available in the UK? Read on as discussed below are the most common species found there.

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