Season Update: Ciara, Dennis and now Ellen

Since we last posted the UK had been decimated by storm Ciara and Dennis leaving a path of devastation in their wake. Unfortunately around the UK many people have been severely affected by flash flooding and building destruction so we’re counting our blessings that our homes haven’t felt even a fraction of the devastation that many others are experiencing right now. Storm Ellen is also scheduled to plummet temperatures and bring snow to various parts of the UK, but fortunately for us not expected in Hampshire where we are based.

A little bit of the carnage we came across after Storm Ciara

The high winds from storm Ciara blew over a number of our nucs, stands, nuc lids as well as one of our hives. Luckily, as we were picking up the pieces it did seem that all of our colonies were still alive, honeybees are hardy creatures but it certainly would not have done them any good so we’ve noted down their numbers and are keeping a close eye on them. We checked our apiaries each day after that, and one was knocked over again despite all the extra weights we put on them, the team then went full mother hen mode and tethered the most exposed colonies down.

On our way to tether the nucs

Seeing how mild the weather has been (despite the rain and wind) we started to put a bit of Candipolline Gold on our colonies knowing that the temperature is expected to plummet. We could see from fellow bee farmers and our colonies that the bees were bringing a little bit of pollen in themselves, catkins and gorse are great natural sources of pollen at this time of the year. This is an indication that their queen was beginning to lay some eggs, the problem is if they don’t have a continuous source of pollen then the workers may pull out the larvae as they are not adequately fed. With temperatures falling, the workers will not go out to forage and therefore colony buildup will be set back.

It may seem a bit premature in the year to be thinking about spring buildup but we have to go by our intuition and the current weather patterns, and if the weather is consistently mild then we have to adequately feed the adults bees and potential brood.

Currently all of our equipment is all cleaned and ready to be refilled with frames, so Sian and I walked to our storage and had a little count of how many frames still need to be made. So, if you’re ready to hang your head in despair….

1,512 National Brood Frames, 582 14 x 12 Frames, 6 Commercial Brood Frames, 180 Langstroth Brood Frames, 480 National Super Frames for rewaxing and 432 National Super Frames.

A whopping 3,192 frames!!

That in mind, we better get back to work as we’d ideally like everything to be filled by March, please think of us stuck in the yard!

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