Spring bees

By | March 4, 2013

SR_2013SpringdaffodilsI’ve been checking my bees about once a month through the 2012/13 winter.
Sometimes just the surrounding area, sometimes when it’s a warm, dry and still day, a few minutes to quickly peek inside the hive.

This first winter has been an anxious time for me. I’m told that many first year beekeepers don’t make it through their first winter, which I imagine is hugely disheartening. It’s also a bit of an acid test of your management, and preparation during the 2012 summer and autumn.

SR_2013_relaxedSpringClusterThe colony has been looking positive through the winter, and in the first weekend of March, I was eager to do a full inspection.
I was delighted to find the cluster was relaxing from its previous tight grouping, as the days were warming. I  was surprised to see how big the group was, compared to the compact winter cluster.

SR_2013SpringbroodFurther, I found brood before I saw the queen. A really uplifting moment, to know the bees had successfully made it through winter, and were already looking to increase their population! There was “brood in all stages” (or BIAS), with eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult bees present. In fact, I saw a few pupae starting to emerge from their cells, meaning they had been laid around 21 days earlier.

Compared to last year when the colony was small and starting to establish itself, it seems 2013 will see me with a large and healthy population. I’m sure the population will grow quickly (if the queen is laying already..), and set some new challenges for me as I learn to manage a virile hive. And gives me high confidence of harvesting some honey this year!

I guess this unofficially makes me a real beekeeper.
Later this year, I’ll take the British Beekeeping BBKA certification, which will make me an official beek.

But for now, I’ll stick with being absolutely chuffed.

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