Great experience


My short visit to Floriade, especially the bee pavilion lived up to all expectations – in fact exceeded them.

Pollen and nectar scanners

Pollen and nectar scanners

When you enter the pavilion you are given one of two scanners – for pollen, with a flower symbol or for nectar, with a sort of water drop symbol.

Hive entrance 1

Hive entrance 1

You enter fairly near to the hive entrance which can be seen above head height and wander through an area of garden plants.  Plants have a bar code with information indicating how pollen rich and /or nectar rich the plants are.  You need to scan the appropriate section of as many plants as you can.

White allium and more bee friendly plants

White allium and more bee friendly plants

There is a complete plant list and there are some graphics that explain the underlying processes.

For the plant list there is some comfort that the common language is latin amongst gardeners – not that I know much Latin but I do recognise common Latin names.

You wander through the garden scanning (‘collecting’ pollen or nectar).  I must admit I thought that the bees collected pollen from just one type of plant at a time but one of the attendants said no – this could have been a language problem or a basic misunderstanding of mine – all comments welcome.

Visual explanation of foraging

Visual explanation of foraging

Once you have scanned a few of the plants you go inside the ‘hive’ or bee pavilion – at a higher entrance if you are able bodied or there is a lower alternative route for those unable to manage the steps.

Bees on frames

Bees on frames

The inside of the hive has blackened walls and the sound of the bees as you’d experience inside a hive can be heard.  There are large images of bees (in keeping with the fact we humans are masquerading as bees) and also some views through glass into one hive with frames and then from another aspect a view above the entrance to Hive 1 which we saw above our heads on entering the garden below.  Back down the steps we arrived at a little display area and then we hand in our scanners for the verdict on how well we have done in collecting the appropriate commodity.

Pollen and nectar totals

Pollen and nectar totals

Hubby was on nectar and managed 20 units

I was proud that I collected 23 units of pollen.

Certificate of pollen collection

Certificate of pollen collection

There is some really interesting web links about Floriade and the bee Pavilion and also the project that has placed chips on some of the bees so that their journeys can be tracked.

Snapshot from the page tracking some of the bee movements

Snapshot from the page tracking some of the bee movements

The Timetable tab lists the bees and journeys and the Weather tab gives

details about bee journeys compared with weather temperature and humidity and the other tabs give background information.

I received an email following a query from Ralf at Nspyre

who gave me the following additional links

Snapshot from bee project weather webpage

Snapshot from bee project weather webpage

to the plant list as a pdf

The list is in Dutch but hopefully the plant names can be extracted.

Also to a BBC report – in English – with some film showing the bee pavilion and

people scanning in the garden.

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About apiarylandlord

Definitely past it - whatever it was - I may have blinked and missed it. New to beekeeping and totally entranced by the experience. That is probably all you need to know until I work out how secure this blog is. Great fan of recycling - see ilovefreegle.org to find your local group. Save things from landfill. Pass on your surplus, locally, for free or ask for things you need in case you can have someone's cast off again for free.
This entry was posted in Bee life, Educational opportunities, Forage, Forage plants, General beekeeping, Honey, Natural world and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Great experience

  1. Pingback: We’d love to know what our visitors want | Hughenden Buzz

  2. Checked out your link seems like an amazing place, I’d never heard of it. I had read bees only forage on one type of flower at a time. This spring I watched the bees foraging on speedwell and daisies in the grass. Most were on the speedwell but I watched the same bee only visit the daisies but this is only anecdotal.

  3. When I looked at the data of tagged bees entering and leaving the hive at Floriad, there were quite a few bees who went out on trips of 40 minutes, then others whose trips were about 65 minutes and then the marathon bees who were out (I think) for about 1 hr 40 minutes. I assume this represented different crops that each was foraging and as you say, each bee just went to one plant. The ‘Be a Bee’ scanning system doesn’t really satisfy this part very well, but it does get across the hard work that goes into honey production. We launched our simulation (we cannot afford scanners and barcodes) at Hughenden Manor on the early May bank holiday Monday and it seemed very popular.

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