Tuesday, 2 March 2010
It's official. After the dreadful storm last week (all the hives lost their roofs which were found floating in the moat - the bees were unharmed) the sun has come out. This has happened before but today it's different. Let me explain.
On the face of it, despite the blue sky, it is still very cold. The temperature this morning when I woke up was a meagre 3 degrees. Not exactly T-shirt weather. But the day warmed up and this afternoon when I walked the dogs I found I was being buzzed - as I walked through the field about 20 metres from the hives a continuous stream of bees were whizzing past my head and not all of them bothered to detour around me I might add!
Curious, I took a look at the hives and sure enough the entrances were all frantically busy with bees rushing in and out; most exciting of all was that many of the bees were carrying pollen so there must be some food around somewhere.
Now of course I didn't have my camera with me and by the time the dogs had walked what they considered a reasonable minimum distance and I'd got my camera from the house, it was already a degree cooler and the bees were on their way home. So the photo above shows activity but not the mass excitement of 40 minutes earlier.
It is still not warm enough to give the bees a liquid syrup feed but it is important to keep an eye on the weight of the hives (by hefting them) because this is the time of year when bees starve very quickly. We keep candy on top of the crown boards and it is still being taken down into the body of the hive. I hope that in a few weeks time it will be warm enough for us to open up the hives for their first spring inspection. For me, the first inspection is the beginning of spring and brings so much to look forward to. Of the six hives (including the wild hive) I am hopeful that four have colonies that will survive through to the spring; the other two are touch and go but I haven't given up!
But it wasn't only the bees who were actively showing signs of spring. More good news was to follow. On my way home I collected the eggs and was pleased that once again we had two - although hens lay less eggs during the winter, we have been worried during the past two weeks because we were getting one egg if we were lucky. When Max got home I told him I'd got the eggs and he was astonished - because he had collected two before he went out. And then there were two more this evening from our young hens who are obviously just beginning to come into lay.
Looks like eggs are back on the menu!