I drove to Lunz am See today to listen to a legend of beekeeping and forest expert share his knowledge about the best forest food for bees. Univ.Doz. Dipl.Ing. Dr. Hermann Pechhacker has been around for a while and really knows his stuff. He's also extremely well traveled and was able to recount several very interesting stories about beekeeping in Nepal, Chile and Australia amongst other countries.
Anyway, after a few very interesting hours in a Gasthaus where he showed us slides and spoke mainly about honeydew producing insects which are vital both for ants and bees, we went out to see an anthill inside a toolshed at the edge of the woods - certainly the biggest anthill I have ever seen! We followed the ants to find the aphids they "milk" for honeydew:
We then also drove up the mountain a little to go and visit some of his bees. At a wonderful site on the edge of the forest he has about 20 hives and opened one up for our inspection.
Walking back down to the car I stopped where there was a tiny stream on the side of the path - loads of bees were gathering moisture from the pebbles and dirt next to the stream. I also caught a pretty worker with some pink pollen on her and had to take a picture for my daughter!
As part of striving to becoming a better global citizen, I am following up on what we can do to help the bees that live around us. This started off as a photo project about bees but has now turned into keeping my own bees and learning more about them!