All of my bee colonies have overwintered successfully, so once again I will be selling my surplus honey bee colonies this year.
The colonies are naturally occurring swarms from my own colonies, that I will have housed on clean foundation, fed, and brought on until they are ready to be sold.
The advantages of this system are that you get the hygiene, vigour, and correct composition of a natural swarm, but with the advantage of traceability. Knowing where they have come from, and their disease status. Something that is missing with a swarm from an unknown colony.
I think that this is a good way of producing bee colonies. It’s much more natural, less intrusive, and works well for me.
To find out more about my bees, and how I manage them, take a look around the blog, and judge for yourself.
If you are interested in buying honey bees this year, give me a ring on 01507 588543.
Two years ago I was sent some willow cuttings from the research centre at Rothampstead, who keep the National willow collection. The cuttings were for me to use to see which were the earliest flowering willows. My interest is early bee forage. I have a lot of violet willow (Salix daphnoides), which is my earliest flowering willow and every year I’m relieved when I see my bees foraging on it, as I know that their lean period is over. From then on, there is a steady flow of nectar until early Summer, and only the weather.
The mild weather has allowed my bees to get out and forage, which is useful, as they are light on food. The colonies did not build up well, due to the lack of forage during the Summer, and I was late to start feeding. Having removed the feeders last week, with not enough food being taken down, I had hoped that the bees would bring some Ivy nectar, but that has not been the case. The future for my late season forage is shown below.
It’s been a while since my last post about bees, and wasps, but that’s because things have been going well. My last post on the subject, Wasps, Bees, and doing nothing, told about the problems that I was having. That particular hive was not coping well, and so I opened it up, to find a tiny number of bees, with a queen, but no brood, and only on frame that had been filled with comb. Again, it was a hive that had somehow failed to build up that was struggling.
I’m having a very uncomfortable evening, at least mentally uncomfortable, thinking about my bees. The problem is wasps, as has been the case, at this time of year, for the last three years. Part of the problem is the fact that my property has become a great habitat for wasps. Lots of trees, banks, fruit, vegetation, and masses of insects. Allowing lots of nests to thrive through to Summer, at which point they start to try to get into the hives.