This last week has treated us to a little sunshine and all of a sudden the world is coming back to life. I was extremely lucky to have booked the time off of work and feel very smug as a result. The week was spent with family, on the beach, visiting seal colonies nearby, fossil hunting, and celebrating my birthday.
My daughter also finally got to do her “zookeeper for a day” Christmas present and even got to hand feed owlets, wallabies, and meerkats.
As I have said all three of my colonies made it though winter and on brief inspection have a small amount of brood. The top bar hive is by far the strongest and even has some winter stores left over at the tops of a few combs.
Since I felt my sap rising too I jumped on the impulse and got my bait hives out ready. This is in spite of fact that I never see a swarm before June :s To be fair this is mostly because I just concentrate of my village area. This is to try and catch any of my swarms along with any local survivor stock. Here is recent post on how. I have also baited up all my empty hives in the apiary as…. well… why not! I want to let my colonies swarm with some degree of regularity as I believe it to be an important process both for the bees and in varroa control. I will attempt to minimize swarming through nest expansion but if I miss the boat and the urge takes them who am I to know better. I may make splits using the swarmed colony if it is large enough but otherwise I will not intervene unless there is queenlessness. I am lucky that I live sufficiently rural that I can get away with this malarkey, but I put bait hives at different distances in my village to minimize the bees upsetting anyone. It does annoy me a little that a hive swarming is treated as such a terrible thing in beekeeping now when I instinctively feel as though it should be celebrated.
As well as bait hives of my own I have lent our local vicar two warré bait hives. Joe is very excited to be giving natural beekeeping a try and currently supports nine churches. That is nine churchyards that may well be hearing the buzzing of bees in the not too distant future.
I will publish a short video in the not too distant future of how I set one up.
In other news over winter I have contributed to the YBKA newsletter (March edition). This is the monthly publication of
the Yorkshire Beekeeping Association and had a new editor who wanted to capture some different beekeeping practices.
I will also be hosting my association in my apiary for a Top bar hive training session on 21st May, so fingers crossed I have something to show them.