We’ve had a few questions about the honey bees at Compton Verney lately, particularly about their condition post winter. Rod has kindly put a few words together as an update, although at this extra busy time of year I’m over a week late posting this to the blog… Please keep this in mind when reading!
Spring Update – by Rod Oates
Whilst I have been to check on the food situation several times in the past weeks, and have added fondant to the hives as necessary, it was only last week that eventually the weather was warm enough to carry out a full inspection, which I did recently.
It has been a confusing spring for the bees with generally cool weather interspersed with only occasional warmer days allowing the bees to fly and bring in pollen. In a healthy colony the queen starts laying late February and intake of pollen is critical as it forms the protein supply for feeding the brood. There only being sporadic days when the weather allowed the bees to gather pollen has therefore hindered colony development.
However I am pleased to be able to say that the inspection on Friday showed that all four colonies have come through the winter and are in a healthy state. One hive has fewer bees than average but there is plenty of food and a fair amount of brood showing that the queen is alive and healthy. No cause for concern. The remaining hives all have plenty of bees, food and brood, especially the left hand hive which is in a very strong state.
The warm weather last week has helped oil seed rape burst into flower so provided the weather remains favourable it shouldn’t be long before honey is being produced. Let’s hope we have a decent summer as with four healthy colonies there should be lots of pollination going on – and honey to put into the shop.