This week, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to do full spring inspections on all three Garden apiaries and one ‘out’ apiary, which is near Brechfa.
The bees were flying really well. There are many spring plants now out in flower and plenty of pollen is coming into the hives. The dandelions are looking particularly abundant, which is good news for pollinators.
All hives have had their wooden parts replaced with fresh, newly-cleaned boxes, floors, roofs, crown boards and queen excluders, where necessary.
Some strong colonies have had their brood combs replaced using the ‘shook swarm’ method. This is a good way to renew old comb and reduce varroa mites and for disease prevention.
Most of the queens were found and marked if not already done so the previous season.
Some smaller colonies were boosted from others within the same apiaries, donating brood frames from healthy colonies and shaking in nurse bees to look after the brood. This action will, hopefully, help these colonies to build up and thrive.
This was a lot of hard work but very satisfying to complete. It is a real joy working with the bees at the Botanic Garden. Let’s hope this lovely weather continues to enable our colonies to continue to build up nicely for the season ahead.
I have placed all the dirty hive parts and equipment to one side ready for cleaning and sterilising so that they can be reused later on in the season when we make increase.
The old frames will have the wax removed and rendered down and frames will be cleaned in readiness for new foundation. This can be done on a rainy day but, in the meantime, we need to enjoy this lovely spell of weather while it lasts.