Sunday 25 March 2012

Good flying weather

No wind and lots of sun today so the bees were flying and it was a good opportunity to have a look inside each of the hives to see how they were doing after this long wet winter. The bees were carrying pollen into the hives and this is a good sign, it means there are some live larvae to feed. Pollen is their protein source. Some of the pollen on the bee leg baskets was a rusty orange colour so probably gorse and some bright yellow hazel pollen. I went through each hive but couldn't find a Queen, I'm not very good at this. I'll have to rely on the pollen foraging and the few eggs laid as evidence that there is a lying Queen in each colony.

Old fish boxes make excellent hive stands
 I gave each hive about 1.5kg of sugar candy a month ago to ensure they had enough food. Today it was almost all gone so I had to top up with more of the same. Our weather is about as poor as it gets for bees, long wet winters, cold wet springs and uncertain summer weather. Last year I got about 10lbs of honey but it was the best and worth the effort; a light amber colour with delicate and mixed flavours......only one jar left!

The last drop of Kilchoan flower honey 2011

One advantage we do have over other beekeepers is that we don't have the varroa mite here in West Lochaber. Anyone considering keeping bees should start with locally sourced bees which are varroa free. We don't want bees brought in from elsewhere in Scotland or the UK with their varroa parasites.

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