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: Feb '13

Finally some milder weather; wahoo!  On Friday it was a balmy 9 degrees at rosybee so we took the opportunity to have a quick peek at the bees; only taking the roof off to see as far as ekes we have put above the queen excluder as a space for extra food. It all good news: all four hive have made it through the winter although with differing levels of activity.

All but one had been eating the fondant (see above) we gave them at Christmas and one hive had completely finished their block so we gave them a bit more. There were not many bees flying but we did see a couple of bees carrying bright orange pollen (see picture left) into the hives which is a sure sign that their queen has started laying and they need the pollen to feed the babies.

wpid-3005701.jpgThe one hive that had not touched its fondant probably has plenty of honey as the hive still has some weight to it. However this may mean that their numbers are greatly reduced, hence why they have not consumed so much, therefore we will keep an eye on then just case.

Checking the bees in February

Last Friday the temperature touched 10 degrees so I took the chance to check on the bees.  I hate beekeeping in Winter as I always worry that they are starving or being attched by something or dying of disease or, or anything....just because I cant see them and be reassured they are fine. I had noticed recently that one of the hives was lighter than the others and buzzing. In my mind I couldnt decide what that meant: was one hive cold and running out of food while the others were fine or did that mean that the noisy one was ok and the silent ones were dead!

Anyway, I went armed with fondant to top up thier food supplies but what I found was three happy hives with varying amounts of food but all with plenty. In the end I decided it was better not to give them extra food and to let them use up the hard old stores in the super so that they will have plenty of space to fill with fresh honey.

If they all make it through to spring we will have increase our hive numbers from 2 to 3.