Its ages since I put anything on my Blog. Several reasons for this
1) I am selling my house!
I was all set to move when the stupid man who was buying pulled out at the point of exchange. People kept saying it was because he was from South Africa that he gave me such a rotten time! I had spent weeks looking for another house and we were all rushing around like the Keystone Cops. I found a place with a large garden, suitable for bee-keeping, the right price and everything, all in six weeks and we were due to exchange. What a pillock ! I am sure anyone selling a house right now will feel some degree of empathy. Anyhow its now back under offer. In the meantime I am living out of boxes as this stupid ex buyer insisted he wanted to move in quickly!
2) there have been redundancies at work..so I have been busier than normal
3) I have been knackered!
I finally opened my bees up a week or so ago to discover that out of 3 hives in my garden one colony had died from what looked like isolation starvation, despite my feeding them. The sudden low temperature and snow probably did it! A second colony when opened had not a bee in site! This Mary Celeste syndrome is most puzzling and not a little demoralising. I had three strong colonies and now I am down to one! To make matters worse my last remaining colony is very weak. There is a queen and she is laying but the whole colony only takes up two frames! I also noticed that the brood is in the super instead of the brood box. I contacted the Chairman of our local Beekeepers Association who told me that for some reason his bees were only laying in supers this year as well. He suggested that I feed them and take away the brood box so the bees dont have to go all the way through it to get to the brood. So the hive now consists of a super, floor etc!
I checked yesterday and she is still laying. Hopefully the nice weather recently may help. I have ordered a queen and optimistically set of a swarm bait nuc. You never know your luck………………
I watched a programme the other night about Colony Collapse Disorder ( AKA Mary Celeste Syndrome). The States seems more badly hit than us. I was some what appalled at the way the commercial beekeepers there transport those poor bees up and down the country. All that monoculture can’t possibly be good for nature, its no wonder the system is under stress. Miles and miles of a single crop, its totally unnatural.
I will keep you posted on the progress with my poor bees! I somehow dont think I will get much honey this year!