In the summer of last year, we established a beehive at The Green House. Bees play a vital part in so much of our food production, and there is concern about environmental pressures causing bees to die out in increasing numbers – so it’s becoming more important for people to keep bees where they can.

Christmas is over, and all the snow has gone. Our bees have been overwintering since the end of October, which is when the last of the pollen was finished for them and they began their hibernation. There is very little activity from then up until now. On milder days, there are a few individuals venturing outside for a ‘cleansing flight’ but in general, they will be in a tight cluster designed to keep the colony warm. Bees will keep the inside of the cluster at around 34°C – regardless of the outside temperature.

We took the picture above last summer where you can see the bees emerging. The entrance has since been fitted with a strip of perforated metal called a ‘mouse guard’. This prevents mice from robbing the hive of its honey, which the bees need to survive the winter.

Luckily, on the first sunny day we had in mid-February, there was a mass of activity with bees buzzing everywhere. Some had even collected pollen from somewhere – possibly the catkins growing nearby.

Once the hive was open for inspection, it was a huge relief to see the colony had survived and the bees were thriving. We put a block of sugar fondant in the top of the hive to help them survive the rest of the winter. As you can see from our short video clip, they were soon feeding eagerly on this sweet treat.

Despite the cold, and the fact that the bees are a little sleepy, some still ventured out to sun themselves on my glove!

Throughout the year I will be sharing with you how we are getting on with our hive, what we are learning and any issues that crop up – and hopefully pictures too! I hope you enjoy our ‘bee diary’ and welcome any comments, questions or feedback you may have.


Our bees feeding on the sugar fondant on top of their hive.