Our bee diary

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.

Geoff Geoff

2 Responses to “Our bee diary”

  1. shannie roberts said...

    Dear Liz & co,(& the bees).These pictures make you feel that maybe now the long winter is finally over.It is nice to know your bees have survived.I too do everything I can in my garden to encourage the bees by planting certain bushes and shrubs.I have a particular blue flowered shrub(cannot remember the name)that flowers and lasts for months and everyday soon after sun is up it is covered in bees all day long.They, along with the butterflies love the buddlias.I spend many hours just watching them.Very therapeutic.Many people are afraid of them,but I find if you don’t disturb them they will not bother you.Good luck for this year.

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply

  2. ANGELA CATON said...

    hi there everyone its fabulous to see the hard working bees. we have a very large garden with an abundance of bushes with very bright yellow flowers on them. up here in yorkshire they come out in july august time full of pollen the bees absolutely love them and they spend all day coming and going. amazing to watch them they literally are busy as bees. good luck to liz earle bees for 2011.

    March 11th, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply

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