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Follow our progress as beekeepers, running the nursery, creating our own bee-haven and conducting research into the best plants for bees

Bee-hives: mid-winter check

Our bee-hives January

Our bee-hives January

Just checking to see if its warm enough out?

Just checking to see if its warm enough out?

Its been tricky finding a chance to check the hives because its been so cold or wet. I am worried about a couple of our colonies which where a bit small in autumn and I think they are likely to not make it through the winter. They definitely dont need me lifting the lid and costing them all thier warmth.

btw - did you know that to keep warm honeybees disconnect thier wings and vibrate thier 'shoulders'?

Anyway, I realised yesterday that I have forgotten to put the floors in under the open mesh floors and even though this is not totally necessary for healthy hives I thought that it would help the smaller colonies. As I added each floor I also hefted the hives to check thier weight. I then let each colony drop to the ground causing a small bump, which - for a live hive - generates a gentle 'buzz' reaction from inside. My smallest colony felt very light (they would not take much syrop in September but I have given them a block of candy) and there was no audible reaction so I concluded they may already be dead.  I lifted the lid and was very surprised to find a few working on the candy block so very quickly put the lid back.  I then want back and spread some of last years honey directly onto the queen excluder. They immediately started to work on it so I hope this gives them enough of a boost to make it.

 

by rosi