Just thought I ought to send an update on what has been going on with the bees since my last email at the end of April.
May has been incredibly kind month for the bees with warm dry sunny days most of the time. The spring flowers and the trees blossomed and the bees took full advantage.
I did split the colony at the club to form a second . However the queen in the new colony never came back from her mating flights so I had to give them some eggs from the other colony so that they could make another new queen. This should emerge in the next day or so and then if she returns ok from her mating flights, she should come into lay in a week or so.
The Rape fields stopped flowering at the end of April. Rape honey granulates very rapidly so if there is rape honey in the hive it will solidify very quickly and has to be removed within a week after it is collected by the bees or else it becomes a very solid block which is very difficult to extract. Worried that some of the honey in the hive at the club was from the rape fields alongside the golf course I did take a box off the hive and test it. It was not solidifying but also it was not sufficiently mature (ie the water content was still too high) to harvest. So it has had to be returned to the bees for them to continue to work on.
The hive at the top of my road is also doing quite nicely.
Unfortunately I have had to remove my bees from Alfriston. I had done a second split on that hive after the first split was attacked by the badger. This second split was totally destroyed by the badger who then started to turn his interest on the main hive, although he never actually got into that. Enough was enough, so I moved that hive to a new site in Newhaven on the Heights. It was a sad farewell to Lin's garden as the hive had prospered so well there. But Mr Brock just made it impossible to continue. Thanks to Lin for the welcome you gave to my bees whilst they were there.
I did sign up earlier this year to volunteer as the swarm collector for the Seaford area. May has been very busy. I have had 20 calls. They have broken down as follows:
2 bumble bee nests.
1 collection of leaf cutter bees.
1 Swarm in the top of a large willow tree which could not be collected due to the height
4 swarms that had entered into the fabric of houses at high level. These I cannot tackle due to the height and the fact that building work would be needed.
2 Swarms left before I could get to the address.
10 swarms collected.
I have given 2 swarms to other local beekeepers and have moved the rest to my site in Newhaven. They are all settling in nicely.
So you can see that the bees in Seaford area have had a very good spring to be able to produce so many swarms, and that is only those found by the people who have found my name on the net.
In May my hives in Seaford were inspected by the Seasonal Regional Bee Inspector. She takes a random selection of beekeepers in the areas around the ports to inspect to check that no foreign nasties have recently arrived in the country. My hives past the inspection with no problems.
We are now into the June gap, being the lull in flowering between the spring flowers and the summer flowers. This will last a couple of weeks when nectar collection will slow off until the summer flowers start to produce their nectar. A time to be vigilant that the bees have enough to get by stored in their hives.
Bees coming to Seaford Bowling Club
We're very happy to announce that we now have our very own bees! Seaford Bowling Club member, David Lewis, has installed a hive in the grounds of the club and as an experienced beekeeper, is looking after the bees throughout the year. David gave a very informative talk at the club and told us all about bees and the keeping of hives. We're looking forward to eating some of the honey later this year!