How to breed a reef kite

8 tips on how to easily breed bees yourself.

“Hum, hum, hum, bees, hum around” - the bees in Germany are no longer as carefree as in the nursery rhyme. Almost half of the bee species living here are in acute danger of extinction. This not only endangers the honey bread for breakfast. "About two thirds of the food depends on the work of bees," estimates Robin Moritz from the European Society for Bee Research (EURBEE). So stopping bee deaths would have far-reaching economic (and health) consequences.

But quite apart from that, the bees' performance is fascinating: For 1 kg of honey, the striped insects fly 250,000 km - that is about 6 orbits around the world! Reason enough to support the hardworking animals and give them space in which they can settle and thrive.

1.) Self-made bee box

Beekeeping is a demanding hobby that requires patience. But you learn a lot about nature and have every reason to be proud of yourself when harvesting honey. You can get started with a self-made beehive (you can find very detailed instructions here).

Set up the box so that it doesn't touch the ground directly. The entrance hole should point towards the morning sun and also be protected from the wind.

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2.) Honeycomb honey in a glass

Before the advent of the honey extractors, it was customary to let the honey drip from the honeycomb or to eat it with the honeycomb. The honeycombs contain valuable ingredients that can immunize against hay fever, among other things.

One trick to get to the honeycomb in an uncomplicated way is to put screw jars on the beehive. When the colony is strong enough, the bees build their honeycombs directly into the jar. A grid is placed under the glass opening through which the queen cannot pass, so the honeycombs remain free of eggs and impurities. A box is placed over the glasses to protect the stick from direct sunlight. You can find instructions in English here.

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3.) Avoid neighborhood disputes

If you set up a beehive, your garden should be at least 200 m2 be big to avoid trouble with local residents. A high hedge also helps that the neighboring property is no longer directly in the approach lane. If you want to breed bees on your roof terrace, talk to your neighbors beforehand. You also have to inform your landlord - from a legal point of view, bees are not considered small animals.

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4.) Borehole hotel

But it doesn't always have to be a beehive if you want to provide a home for the multitude of bee species. On the contrary: solitary wild bees are particularly threatened!

You can set up a bee hotel with little effort. Take a piece of seasoned hardwood at least 8 inches wide and drill several horizontal holes in it. The holes should be about 6 mm thick and not too close together to avoid cracks. Place the hotel in a sunny and rain-protected location. To keep birds away, you can put a wire mesh in front of it.

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5.) Flat in a can

A simple nesting aid for wild bees can also be built from bamboo sticks, which are otherwise used as plant supports. Hollow out the bars with a drill and put them in an empty tin can. The cut edges of the sticks should be as smooth as possible, and the bees in their apartment don't like dust either.

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6.) Dead wood

You don't always have to put something in front of the bees to make them feel comfortable. Sometimes it is enough if you don't put something away or edit it in any other way. Unkempt corners in the garden are a true paradise for bees. Scrub, leaves and dead wood offer the hymenoptera shelter. Many wild bees nest in the ground - so they need undisturbed corners to lay their eggs.

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7.) Flower after flower

From the point of view of bees, there is hardly any difference between a freshly mown lawn and a desert. If you want to do something good for bees, you can rely on the easy-care wildflower meadow. Early bloomers help the bees to regain their strength quickly after the cold season. Apple trees, raspberries, coriander, phacelia (bee willow) and silk flowers are also very popular with honey collectors.

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8.) Water point

What many forget: Bees not only need a nesting place and nectar, but also water. They can drink from stone hollows or bird baths in which a few pebbles are placed and fetch water for building their nests.

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The drastic death of bees is mainly due to the widespread use of pesticides and introduced parasites, but the ever-narrowing habitat is also becoming a problem for the bees. With these tips you can help make the hum of the striped contemporaries sound a little more carefree again. If you even decide to have your own beehive, membership in the local beekeeping association is worthwhile: New members often get their first colony there, and you also get a sponsor who provides you with a lot of useful information. In some federal states there are even financial subsidies for hobby beekeeping.