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Claygate’s Bee Blog 2024 #1

I have been asked to do a little Bee blog so those who have an interest in the bees can keep up to date here. The Apiary at Vale Road is a Community Apiary which means it is for everyone (with a few rules obviously) but if you want to learn more about bees, come and watch an inspection or get more involved even have your own hive then just drop a message below or on the forum – we have a WhatsApp group to keep people updated.

One hive has made it safely through the winter – it is always a challenging time for the Bee keeper as many hives don’t make it through the winter. I have a feeling we may have lost the 2nd Colony but I won’t know until I do the first inspection of the year. We usually wait until the first pear blossom is out but can be a little earlier as long as it is dry and the temperature is over 15 degrees. It’s too cold if it is lower than that and could damage the hive.

Wirh all this rain it is hard to do the first inspection but it is really important as us bee keepers want to stop our hives swarming, When a hive swarms it takes the old queen, half the bees and half the stores (honey). If I can catch them then that is excellent but if not then I lose a load of bees (no so great). Please keep an eye out for swarms, mine or any others you might see I am happy to collect them – please note that bees are at their most docile, gentle and least likely to sting when they swarm, this is because their tummies are stuffed full of honey and they are very fixated on keeping up with the other bees and especially the queen and all finding a new home.

On first inspection we are checking for a few things, are the bees healthy (no disease) are there any queen cells in the hive (this will indicate they are preparing to swarm or replace the existing queen (if she is old and not laying very much). Do they have enough stores (food/honey) to keep them going or do I need to feed them? When it is wet it is hard for the bees to get out and find nectar and pollen so not only can they not get food they are also needing to use up what is in the hive to keep them going until they can get out a forage again. I am also checking that the queen is alive and is in lay.

Hoping to do our first inspection soon and I will be able to give you a further update on whether we have 2 hives or just 1 going into spring and lets pray for a sunny spring and summer as last year was so wet we got hardly any honey!!! ☹

\if there are any bee related questions please just ask and I will attempt to answer you – there is a famous saying in Beekeeping  - ask 5 beekeepers the same question and you will get 5 different answers !! Just letting you know 😊

Helen Valentino  -

“The accidental Beekeeper” (that’s a story for another day!!)

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