Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

The bees are fine - first full hive inspection of the year

So nice to see them again; its like catching up with old friends! This picture shows them just finishing up their old sugar syrup (see the white crystals in some of the cells) and cleaning up the cells ready to receive this years honey. We have 3 hives and all of them are fine: several sides of brood and eggs spotted in each. Plenty of new small bees too so generally they seem to be thriving.  Two have almost used up all of their winter stores but the third and biggest colony still had quite a lot left.

Although its better to have too much than not enough food, this is now taking up valuable honey storage space.  However we are planning to create a couple of extra colonies from artificial swarms this year (if we can avoid the natural swarming that blighted last season) and therefore some extra food to recycle in new colonies will be very useful.