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Beekeeper’s Notes: Bees Must Adjust To The Early Seasons

Published on: 1 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2022

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

Isn’t the weather lovely! Cold at night but dry and sunny during the day. The bees are enjoying it as well, flying whenever they can.

I say enjoying as if I have a way of knowing what bees think. Obviously I don’t but we do know they act together, each insect with its own job to do.

Lighting up the smoker for the first time this year.

That is particularly true for swarming which is generally late April and May onwards. But will that tendency for the bees to split the colony and leave in a swarm, decided by their collective wisdom as I have heard it called, be coming early as the climate gets warmer?

Birds are migrating about two days earlier a decade and flowers in the UK are arriving about a month before the pre-1986 average. What are the bees doing?

This hive is looking quite strong. We will have to give it more space with another box on top. This may persuade them there is not a need to swarm this year ….. hopefully.

Maybe early spring flowers such a crocuses will be fantastic for hungry bees.

But if they can’t synchronise with their favourite foods, they will have to adjust or suffer. And not just them, it could be the plants they pollinate as well.

Bees have been around for about 20 million years. So I have faith in them to keep going.

But we are not making it easy for them and we are told 35 bee species in the UK are under threat of extinction.

We are doing our first inspections of the year now. It’s good to light up the smoker again, not so nice to struggle into the bee suit, but great to see what the bees have been doing over the winter.

Cross fingers, it looks ok so far.

Making up frames in the kitchen. We will be adding extra boxes onto the hives to give them plenty of space, and this means getting the boxes and the frames ready.

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