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Beekeeper’s Notes: Weather, Feeding Bees And Identifying Bumble Bees

Published on: 1 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 1 Jul, 2021

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to the summer starting. Wimbledon is here so it won’t be during the tennis. But cross fingers, we will be getting the sun out soon.

Everything looks so wonderfully green and lush in the garden. The rain has been great for new growth but it has been a bit grim weather-wise this year so far.

Honey bee getting stuck into the hawthorn blossom in May. It seems such a long time ago.

Weeks of cold and rain are keeping the bees battened down. The Met Office tells us spring was a degree or two colder than usual. A quote from its analysis says: “The cool temperatures seen in the season are particularly notable in the context of the long-term trend towards a warming climate.”

April was the fourth driest on record with May being the fourth wettest ever recorded.

What do we make of that?

People were still feeding their bees in June, especially the smaller colonies. That is unusual in my experience. So it is not easy for the bees or the beekeepers (Beekeepers Notes: Starving Hive Is A Horrible Sight).

Common carder bumblebee. Photo taken in Bedfordshire in 2013.

Interesting news is that a bumble bee identification app is being developed in the US. We are all using the plant identification apps on our ‘phones. It’s great to be able to put a name to what comes up in the garden.

The new app for bumble bee identification, Bee Machine is 90% accurate for the 35  species in the USA. Will it work well for the 25 bumble bee species in the UK?

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