Hello all, here we are with another update on our season. Firstly, many of our regular customers will know that we recently moved website hosts, and we’re having teething problems, might have to pull some out at this point. We’re really sorry for anyone that has encountered a problem with our new website, it continues to be a bit buggy but our web developers are putting a lot of effort in to amend any issues. If you continue to find anything wrong whilst browsing or checking out, we would really appreciate it if you could take a screenshot and send it in an email to us so we can forward it on to our developers.
Things are heating up, marginally, and the girls are feeling it too! We’ve had some pleasant days out in the apiaries with the sun shining on us. Sian was super excited as she was able to go through a few nucs whilst the sun was out, we’ve seen from other bee farmers and customers that some have started doing their first inspections, we’ve always been a bit on the cautious side, constantly checking the weather to ensure that we actually have a few days of steady temperatures. This is because you will inevitably disturb the cluster, then if it suddenly gets cold they may settle away from the food source increasing the risk of isolation starvation.
Our bees have been flying, bringing both pollen and a small amount of nectar in. Some of our nucs are looking very strong with bees but not as much brood in there as we’d like so we do believe we’re a bit behind on our nuc production – perhaps by two weeks. We’re really hoping that our winter losses are not as high as last year (25% across the board), however there are some reports that losses are as high as 50% across the nation, possibly due to damp in the hives. We’re currently at 5.2% for hives and 10.7% for nucs, we are expecting that figure to go up, especially with our hives which are not looking very active. As we all know just because its getting warmer doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. To add to that, even if they survive through the winter, it does not make them a viable colony in the spring as they may be too weak, or the queen has been lost.
What is the most mysterious colony loss you’ve experienced? Sian found most of the colony dead and then this giant mouldy bumblebee!
We’ve also had a wasp colony inside our nuc a year ago, that one was a surprise!
One of the most upsetting things that we experienced in the last fortnight was Sian and Rob finding one of our sheep’s dying in the field as it had fallen onto its back. Despite their efforts to save the sheep, it passed away – the vet actually believed it was due to poisoning. That sheep left two little lambs behind so after gathering the whole team (minus Gabriel who was away on block training, but plus Noel who was helping Rob that day with his cattle) we bumbled our way around the paddock trying to catch these two adorable lambs. As you can see, I was ridiculously excited to hold one of them. I was so scared that I would drop it by accident and have to catch it again!!
We (Rob and I) attended the annual BeeTradeX show, and it was so lovely to meet many of our customers who already have their nucs on order with us. Despite the current situation with COVID-19, it all went well. Plenty of people but less footfall as to be expected. Some of the big companies weren’t able to be there which was a real shame (we missed you Swienty and Thomas!!). We also had a very enjoyable evening spent at Woodside Hotel with the other Beefarmers across the nation, no hand shaking but plenty of elbow knocking into the night.
We do hope everyone is taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and the vulnerable people around them safe.