Autumn is her and we are going into the fall with strong colonies
We started of 2023 season with lovely new queens in two hives and strong healthy bees coming through the winter.
We even had a crop of honey in the spring. The last time we had that, was during the pandemic, we had more honey than we could cope with.
However this year, the bees were determined to swarm.
Why do the swarm you ask? There can be a number of reasons:
a) she is a old queen and needs supersedure
b) the old queen is damaged and needs supersedure
c) the colony is strong and needs splitting (ie not enough space in the hive)
d) because bees are designed to reproduce themselves and they will when given the chance.
e) they are swarming colony.
So in my case they were a mixture of c-e. The bees were so strong that I should have spit them earlier in the season, which I did do to one, creating 3 hives. They had lots of space, because I kept giving them space, and they were definitely swarming bees. Every time I did my inspection there were more queen cells. You have to be very vigilant and I obviously wasn't.
So we ended up with two hives with new queens which had to start all over again, building the colony from scratch. It took them almost 2 months and here we are in the Autumn with strong bees and no honey.
Always a lesson to be learnt in beekeeping, especially when you haven't got many hives.
So the season is over, I've just given them a sugar feed to make sure they have enough stores to get the winter bees through the cooler autumn and winter; and then we are off again.
One good thing, is they don't seem to have a high varroa drop, so I am going to experiment further and not give them a treatment.
Fingers cross that these new queens get through the winter with good strong brood and we will be off again come the spring.
If you want to get some of the spring honey, you can come the London Farmers Market at Buxton School, Leytonstone E11. I will be there 1st and 3rd sunday in September then away until the end of October.
Or you can order on line www.arlenescakesandbakes.com