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

Update from the hives; March '17, first full check

willow pollen for feeding the brood

willow pollen for feeding the brood

Yesterday was gloriously sunny, all day. The bees were all out and it was warm enough to do the first full check on the hives.

We lost one of our 4 over the winter and had to merge another as the colony was so small it was unlikely to survive. But then we inherited an old and semi-feral colony from a neighbour but I had no idea what we would find inside.

The good news is all 3 hives have brood on several frames and plenty of pollen being brought in. They also still have enough honey reserves to cope if they weather keeps them shut in for more days.

What was really striking was the see of yellow pollen; almost all the same shade and so I would assume from the goat willows that are flowering all around our field. Such a sunny, happy colour.

The male willows are some of the first trees to flower and produce pollen in vast quantities making them the most valuable source of protein to feed to the newly growing brood. However, they do not provide much nectar so the wild cherries, closely followed by blackthorn and then all the other trees and hedges are the main foor for this time of year.  If you live anywhere near a willow, do not expect any bulbs in your garden to get much attention for a while.

by rosi