I was pleased to see bee activity as I lost one colony this winter. It went into the winter strong and full of honey but I had a bad feeling about it and when I opened it there were no bees or larvae but a lot of queen cells so I fear they created a late season queen who did not find any drones to mate with and so the colony died out. It is upsetting but I am sure I will be able to split one of the other colonies in the spring. I sealed the empty hive to keep out wax moth and will be destroying the old wax and sterilising the hive ready for new occupants as soon as the weather is warm enough.
It is time to start work on the garden so that it is at its best for the National Garden Scheme opening in June. The RSPB featured the garden in the spring 2018 edition and seeing the pictures of the bees and butterflies in the sunshine cheered me up in this miserable winter. I have sourced some medicine to treat the mangy foxes that haunt the apiary. I'd rather not have foxes in the garden but I can't bear seeing these half bald creatures scratching and looking so thin. The advice is to add the drops to honey or jam sandwiches which they apparently love. I'm afraid they won't be getting any of my honey so lets see what jam can do. I saw a frog on the lawn today and I am about to install a new pond so there is much to do.
February jobs for beekeepers
- Check that your bees have enough stores by hefting the hive and add fondant if necessary.
- Make sure the hives are not damaged by mice, woodpeckers etc.
- Peep through the mouse guard to ensure the hive entrance is not blocked by dead bees.
- Start preparing equipment for the new season.
February jobs for the friends of pollinators
- Do some research on the best plants for pollinators (see my website)
- Buy seeds ready to plant in the spring and create pollinator heaven in your garden
- Look out for butterflies and queen bumblebees coming out of hibernation in garden sheds and other winter hiding places and make sure they are not trapped inside