Sunday, 22 May 2011

honey bees in may

We currently have one hive on site. Linda and Trev are the beekeepers and did a routine check yesterday. The bees were remarkably calm, allowing those of us who were unmasked to approach the hive to within a couple of feet for a close look at what was happening.

The colony has now doubled in size to around 20,000 bees. At its maximum it will have a population of 50,000. Observation of bees entering the hive suggested around half were returning with filled corbiculas - or pollen sacs.

The colony is still building itself up, and so no 'supers' have been put on as an extra storey above the hive for the bees to  fill with honey. The energy of the bees needs to be directed to building a thriving colony. Pollen is the food given to the bee larvae: pollen entering the hive suggests lots of baby bees or 'brood'.

Here we see a frame being inspected.

The upper, white cells contain honey and have been covered with a wax cap.

The orange cells in the middle of the frame contain protein rich pollen that will be used to feed the larvae.

This has been a exceptional spring with blossom continuing unbroken from February. Hawthorn blossom is ending but our lime trees are fragrant and will be a good source of nectar for the bees. Lime honey is highly prized.

It has been a good year so far to be a honey bee!

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