Sunday, 30 March 2008
Spring cleaning the Bees
We have been keeping Bees for about ten years, and I have very strong opinions about good husbandry being vital for their good health.So, every Spring, we do a spring -clean. We usually manage to do it in February or early March. This year ,though, it's been too wet, too cold or too windy. Or all three. Until today. It was warm, fairly still, and no rain -So, kit in the wheel-barrow, bee-suits on, and out to the orchard.
I'm so glad that we are fairly logical and organised. Most of the six hives were at the stage we expected, and we tidied them up, put in clean brood frames and assesed stores, after making sure the Queen was present. Hive one, though, was amazing. The Queen was there,easily found [they aren't,generally] and the main chamber was BURSTING with brood. And the worker bees were bustling in with stores in a constant stream! We still went in and did the spring clean, but had to be even more careful than usual. We finished off by dusting them off with icing sugar, as we had with all the other hives. Not madness, but a tip given by the local Bee Inspector, Richard Ball. It makes the Bees groom themselves and each other, which helps discourage Varroa. Being a food stuff, it does the Bees no harm at all.
All the above should prevent any premature swarming. I hope!