Time for another bee update. It is still relatively quiet around the hives, but, according to Erica, it is the calm before the storm of activities that are soon to come. And if you ask me, “quiet” or not, I think Erica again has a lot of interesting things to tell us!
The month of March has been rather quiet around the bees. We have had the hives checked on their food stocks and found that they luckily are still heavy enough. And as both of the hives are well occupied, there will be enough bees to help collect pollen as soon as warmer days arrive. They might even find some nectar already. Right now, that is not possible yet because it is too cold. A pity, really! There are so many flowers out already, but most of the time the temperatures just won’t allow the bees to go out. Luckily I have already spotted some big queen bumblebees collecting pollen and nectar. These ladies then search for a suitable place to create a new, small colony.
While the bees are still inside, but the plants start growing again, I have time to learn some new plants. Compared to other beekeepers, my knowledge of all that is green is still a bit limited. I don’t have a garden, and on my rooftop terrace I only grow the more common herbs. So when my enthusiastic gardening friends go around throwing Latin names into the conversation, I often feel a bit lost. Those names just don’t stick in my mind.
But that doesn’t mean I am not going to try! I am making a serious effort into learning more. Armed with a list of the most common trees, shrubs and herbs, information about their flowering time and amount of pollen and/or nectar produced and images found on the internet, I am getting there. Gradually, I’m finding out I actually live close to paradise. Paradise for my bees, that is!
A friend of mine who is also a beekeeper has bought a new colony. During a warm day last month, it was time for her to move the bees. She transferred the colony with its queen from a temporary, small shelter, to a bigger hive. In doing so, it was possible to quickly check how many bees has survived the journey, and if the queen was still alive. On the picture below you can see some brood cells just left of the middle, that is where young bees are growing. On the right hand side, you can spot some of their honey stocks.
Another one of my colleagues is currently constructing a so-called Sun Hive. From what I’ve seen, it looks wonderful and very solid. The plan is to get one of those Sun Hives in our apiary, so I hope to show you more of that soon!
Next week, we will all help out with some gardening work to make our own lovely garden ready for spring and summer again. It is such a beautiful place with lots of bee-friendly plants, we have to treasure that!
All of this is like the calm before the storm. When warmer weather kicks in and everything will really get going, there will be tons of things to do. The prime thing to do will be to place the first honey combs. After that, we will get ready to separate the colonies (to prevent swarming), harvest honey, get jars ready, and so on…
See you soon!