Well 10.00am 16th April and the temperature is only 5 degrees so I'm not opening up yet! That was how I began the last blog, this time I'm saying
Well 10.00am 6th May and the temperature is only 5 degrees so I'm not opening up yet! What is the weather doing?
We were supposed to be having an inspection from the Seasonal Bee Inspector having had European Foul Brood 2 years ago, but it's too cold to consider. Maybe it will warm up a bit today, but who knows.
So recently activity has been managing vswarming - the slightest bit of warm weather and they are off! If you can't inspect, you don't know who is preparing to leave and so cvant manage the swarming instinct. I've lost 3 swarms so far, 1 I caught and re-hived. Another I caught, hived and they scarpered again, onto the same fence post and I caught them again. This time I tried a different hive. Next day - all gone again, this time for good.
The foraging has been curtailed so you should really be continuing to heft regularly and feed where necessary. Starvation is the enemy, not cold.
We've had 2 maintenance days and made up loaads of frames for both supers and brood boxes so we're well set for the other swarms that need collecting. I have 3 complete empty hives awaiting new bees. One I have put up at gutter height, with some old brood frames in, this is about the height the fly around at when they first exit so could be a good first port of call for them. So far not been investigated!
We have also cleaned up some old equipment taken off some hives earlier, had a general tidy up and eaten lots of cake. There are benefits to a maintenance day known only to the select few who attend!
Soon the weather should break and the season get off to a pent up start. So be prepared to be busy for a few weeks keeping your colonies on site, stopping swarming, supering up for more space, artificial swarming, bailey frame changing and much more.
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