Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring is coming along nicely

Spring seems to be coming a little earlier than usual this year and we are all enjoying a spell of warm sunny weather. There are lots of flowers blooming early, particularly the daffodils. The bees are also enjoying the weather and there are signs of an early start to laying by the queens. When eggs are hatching the nurse bees need lots of pollen and honey mixed to feed the new grubs so they will have been digging into what is left of the winter stores. As you will see in this bit of video I took this afternoon, there is plenty of pollen being brought in.

As the main nectar bearing crops arent out yet there is not a lot of nectar about yet so this can be a problem. If they are running short of honey then there is a real danger of starvation even in the warm weather. I popped down to the apiary to have a quick look under the crown boards and establish how things are going. There are two colonies that are very light so I will give them a supplimentary feed of 50/50 syrup (1ib to 1 Pint of water). The other 4 colonies are very strong and the brood boxes are heavy so they should be OK. One colony didnt make it through the winter - they were very week at the end of last season.
Of course the early start to the season may well mean an early start to swarming so we will have to keep an eye out for that and manage accordingly. We normally have first swarm around the end of April but something tells me this year will be a lot earlier.

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