A beautiful warm, sunny afternoon – the first day of spring has finally arrived and we are so happy that 5 out of 5 colonies have made it through winter. We attribute this high percentage to our ‘bee centered’ approach to bee keeping – we left each hive with a super (box) of their own honey for them to eat during cold winter days when forage is rare and conditions are too cold to fly in.
Many bee keepers, however, take all the honey then feed the bees sugar. We believe this is detrimental to the health of the bees, it’s like us working hard all year growing and harvesting loads of lovely organic veg then someone coming along and taking it all and replacing it with a winter’s supply of baked beans. I imagine we would be pretty sick come the end of winter too…
Note the colours of pollen coming into the hives in the photos. Judging by the little that is blooming at the moment, the orange is likely to be dandelion and the yellow from our willow – both of which are important early food sources.
Update by Nikki
Thanks to funding from Grow Wild at Kew Gardens, we’re going to be building an Education Apiary and Bee-Ed-Shed at Bosavern Community Farm in 2016. This will include an observation hive so that visitors, school groups and budding bee-keepers can take a look inside a working bee hive to watch these fascinating and important insects at work.
We will be creating a bee garden behind our barn to encourage, shelter, and nurture these important pollinators.
We’ll soon be posting more news about how you can get involved. If you or your school or youth group would like to help us with creating the garden, please contact Nikki at the farm (01736 788454).
It’s been a difficult wet and windy winter for our bees. They are currently clustered tightly in a state of semi-hibernation, but on the last dry day, activity from all 5 hives was seen, which means that so far they are all overwintering well.
We do not artificially feed our bees unless absolutely necessary, as we believe feeding sugar has all kinds of negative implications for their health and well-being. So far they are happily munching their way through the extra honey stores of their own which we leave on for them.
We have been donated a lovely top bar hive by the Cornish Black Bee Company which we will be restoring over winter ready to catch a swarm in the spring to increase our stocks.