By Marcella Craven, Outdoor Work Technician and Beekeeper
Beekeepers all over the country watch their hives intently at this time of year.
All the long winter we have fed our bees with fondant, checked that the hives haven’t blown over (at Bedales we weighted our roofs down with slabs during the severe winds and we still had one fly off)! We treated the hives for disease. We also worried that pests might have got into the hives, silently wrecking the comb, eating stores or consuming bees! Woodpeckers, badgers, mice, wasps and worse of all, man-made poisons, insecticides and sprays all present a serious risk to the hives.
This year the weather has not been good for bees. Wet, mild weather makes hives damp. Bees can’t fly to make cleansing flights, and the colony can chill easily. Global warming is changing our seasons and this causes a difference to the forage available, and the weather which a bee needs to be able to venture out and retrieve it. I have observed that life for a colony is complex and often mirrors our human problems.