Last year I published a post about My Earliest Flowering Willow, and was surprised to see that the willow that flowered earliest for my was a hybrid called ‘Lapin’. I was up in the Forest Garden again today, ‘weeping’ at the damage done to my willows by rabbits, and noticed that again, the earliest flowering willow variety was ‘Lapin’. This was one of the three varieties that I had obtained from the National Willow Collection, at Rothamsted Research.
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.
This post has been a little while in the making, and is a result of a telephone conversation with a friend of mine. She had been worried that despite working long hours, she never seemed to get everything done, or even achieve very much. Initially I was going to list all of the things that I didn’t get done this year, but the list was so long that I would never have finished the post. Instead, I’m going to go through some of the stuff that I did around the smallholding today, and then the stuff that didn’t get done.
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.