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Friday, 18 February 2011

Crocus pollen

At about 10 degrees (c), bees were bringing in crocus pollen. Vivid orange/yellow and unmistakable.

It's a good sign of a healthy colony.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Topbar colony still alive!

Despite the harsh winter, the colony in the topbar hive is still alive.

The bottom of the hive is just mesh - so the colony is exposed very directly to the elements.

Just goes to prove - something, anything - depending on your prejudices :-)

This colony was a fresh swarm last June (see previous posts about my two sons collecting their first swarm from high in a tree, with advice from me in India via mobile phone).

So a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.

Community Apiary

I have been talking to the leader of the Food Group of Transition Community Corsham (Transcoco) about a community apiary.

Of course, there will be the usual debate between the "natural"-ists who will want topbar hives with no intervention and the "regulars" who will want removable hives and regular inspections.

Where do I stand? Against chemical treatments, that's for sure. The last thing bees need is more chemicals.

But if you keep bees, then you should do your best to keep them healthy. You wouldn't keep cows and just leave them be, would you?

More as this story develops!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

All three colonies are through the winter

It was about 8 degrees C when I inspected my three colonies last week.
I was expecting one or more to be dead, given the very harsh winter, but all three were very much alive.

It was a bit late, but I gave them their Oxalic Acid treatment.

Two colonies were very docile, but the third was very aggressive. I wore just a smock top and several bees burrowed into my pocket and stung me through the lining. Luckily, just my leg. Could have been worse.

This colony has always been feisty, even though they superseded the queen last autumn. I was hoping their disposition would improve.

This is the colony that I might move. It produced no excess honey last year and I think it's because it is just too exposed a position. They had plenty to eat, with a field of Oil Seed Rape just next door. But they never thrived.