I did a photoshoot clad in bee-suits and poised by the hives as part of a collaborative project with a young chef who is featuring local Hackney produce this year.
Then the snow and wind turned the garden to the Arctic. First job last week was to clear snow from the hive landing boards and put a protection board across the front of each hive to stop the light reflected off the snow enticing the bees out. Then each day I fed the birds and melted a hole in the ponds so that they could access water.
I still need to sterilise the ‘dead hive’ but the deep frost will have kept it safe from any wax moths and anyway it is sealed up. Everything else is clean and ready to go once the Spring arrives.
Annual seeds selected for their attraction to pollinating insects arrived. I am experimenting with echium, ‘viper’s bugloss’ for the first time. I can’t wait to get my meadow seeds planted and get some colour in the garden.
I now have to tell people that they must wait until June for the new crop of honey as I have run out except for some jars with comb chunks in which is not to everyone’s taste.
March jobs for beekeepers
- Check food reserves and feed fondant if still cold or light syrup when warm
- Carry out the first quick hive inspection fi it is ‘tee-shirt’ warm
- Monitor varroa drop and organise treatment if needed
- Ensure all equipment is ready to go: newly waxed frames, supers
- Make sure that your ‘swarm kit’ has all the components ready, just in case
- Consider feeding pollen substitute
March jobs for friends of pollinators
- Order plants and seeds that will attract and feed pollinators
- Check that if you buy potting compost it does not contain chemicals that will harm bees as they like to drink moisture from wet compost
- Look on the National Open Garden Scheme website to find gardens to inspire your planting at the same time as supporting nursing charities.