Fringe Box



Beekeeper’s Notes: Bees And Coronavirus

Published on: 1 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2020

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

The beekeeping season has started again with a tentative look inside hives to check that all is ok. Some of the weaker colonies are light on food, so a bit of feeding has been called for.

Busy hive entrance on a warmish day in March. Lots of pollen going in.

The queens are laying, bees are flying and pollen is coming into the hives. All is right with the world.

But coronavirus extends to everything. Practical beekeeping training is cancelled and the centenary celebrations for the Guildford Beekeepers Association have been postponed. Will it be a 101-years-old party?

Beekeepers have been wondering whether they should be going out to do bee inspections. I have some hives at home but some on an allotment. Do I go to the allotment to check them weekly, as I ideally should, or not?

The small colony made up from two late swarms in 2019 looks to be ok but fingers still crossed.

The British Beekeepers Association, of which the Guildford society is a member, has been talking to Defra about the impacts of the virus on bees and beekeepers. At the moment, the advice is that bees will be considered as livestock and can be tended accordingly. But presumably, that could change.

It is a worry but not for now.

The bees weren’t very pleased with being disturbed and massed at the entrance for a short time.

Beekeepers are dusting equipment out of sheds and garages, planning strategies for preventing and collecting swarms and generally getting ready to tend the bees.

It’s a great life!

The biscuit-coloured patch on the comb is where the queen has laid eggs in the individual cells. Each loaded cell has then been capped over by the bees to allow the larvae inside to develop. It will emerge as a fully formed bee after 21 days. The slightly raised capped cells are male bees, drones which will emerge after 24 days.

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