What-ho! Onwards!

By | May 19, 2013

The candlewick like flecks in the centre of the cells are freshly laid bee eggs

The candlewick like flecks in the centre of the cells are freshly laid bee eggs

We might not be having the most glorious Spring weather, but the colony is certainly progressing well. Most importantly, the new queen has been let out of her cage, was accepted by the colony, and has started laying eggs! #result

I have to admit I wasn’t quite expecting to manage a swarm this year, nor re-queen the hive. But as they say, bees don’t read the books we write..

The colony is fairly large, however the bees in the hive only live around 6 weeks. So it’s important to have the next wave of bees coming through. The eggs in this picture will take around 3 weeks to develop and emerge as adult bees.

According to Seth Godin, now is the time to power through the dip – the queen will be laying 2,000 eggs / day at this time of year, so while there will be a small dip in┬ápopulation, there is a strong and healthy base of bees – things will be just tickety-boo.

Clearing the runway helps the large number of foraging bees get in and out of the hive, with less fuss

Clearing the runway helps the large number of foraging bees get in and out of the hive, with less fuss

In Spring as the colony grows, so do plants around the hive. I’m always impressed by the speed which England turns green after Winter. It’s important to keep the front of the hive clear, allowing bees to enter and exit with ease. At the moment you want to encourage their increasing activity, and getting plants away from the front door certainly helps. Apparently in extreme cases, the bees can’t recognise their own hive, if the entrance gets too overgrown.

It helps the beekeeper with inspections too, to get rid of the darned blackberry thorns surrounding the hive.

On Sunday, I hosted a talk with around a dozen allotment holders from the Chiswick Horticultural Society. While far from being an expert, it’s really enjoyable to share the fascination of bees with interested people – I suspect I’m probably guilty of sharing the fascination with *uninterested people… so it was really great to overview this curious world to people who wanted me to talk.

Tally Ho!


Comments are closed.