30 Apr 2020

Bee team makes great start to the new season

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Free from social distancing restrictions, it is very much buzz-iness as usual for our honey bees – and for Botanic Garden beekeeper Lynda Christie . . .

The review of our Botanic Garden apiary Inspections of April 23rd can be summed up thus: coming along nicely!
The lovely spring weather continues, much to the benefit of the bees who are making a very good start to the season.
The wild strawberries are flowering in the wildlife garden and the horse chestnut trees are starting to open their candelabra blooms. At our second apiary, there is evidence of this with the red colour pollen being taken in by the bees.

The main aim of the inspections is to see if the colonies are building up as expected.
One of the hives is so strong, I decided it may be a breeder colony. It has a full brood box and two supers near to bursting. This colony was given another brood box of empty frames, to ensure the Queen has space to keep laying and to draw out new frames. If all goes well, when the bees have done their work, I will be able to split this colony to make increase and harvest some queen cells for use in other colonies.

The hives that were previously given new brood comb to draw out, are varying in their success. Some are doing just fine; others have been a bit slow. A couple don’t seem to like the comb they were given and seem hesitant to draw it out. In these colonies, I have replaced this comb with new foundation and frames to see if this helps.
My next job is to update my hive records. This is a very useful way of keeping a track of what is happening in each hive. The five main points we check for are:

  • Has the Colony sufficient room, space to expand?
  • Is the Queen present and laying?
  • Colony building up as expected?
  • Any signs of disease?
  • How much stores do they have?

Answering these five questions help to inform the beekeeper on the condition of his colonies and to make appropriate decisions on the next steps.
I always make additional notes in the record of other work or equipment that may be needed at the next inspection.

Lynda Christie
April 23, 2020