from Jacqui and me to this record of our experiences as new beekeepers in The Marches.

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Thursday, 7 June 2012


Ooops! - far too long since my last post. Not because our interest in the bees has been waning, on the contrary they have kept us busy and what with record keeping and other stuff I have simply neglected the computer screen. In the event last year did not produce much honey. Poor weather resulted in very poor nectar flow during June/July. It only really picked up in September when we were treating with Thymol against the Varroa mite. That meant that we could not extract honey for human consumption. It was left for the bees. They were fed during the Autumn and found a good crop from Himalayan Balsam by the river Clun. We entered the winter with three good colonies and one very weak one. The weather was unseasonally warm at times with the result that the bees were flying throughout December. The picture below is exceptional not for it's quality but for the fact that it was taken at 3.00pm on the 31st December 2011, a bee returning with pollen!!! The problem with bees flying in winter is that they are using more energy from stores in the hive than they are collecting. The hive outgoings are greater than the income and starvation is a real danger. All hives were checked early in January when treated with Oxalic acid (against Varroa) and found to be fine but by the end of the month one colony was discovered dead through starvation. You can tell because many bees are head down in the cells with backsides in the air. We fed pretty well continuously through late winter into spring and were rewarded with 2 strong colonies and one still very weak. The plan for 2012 involved a determination to be halfway competent at the craft, some queen rearing and increase in colony numbers. Next post will describe progress