Spring Notes from Peter Folge

Our warming climate does seem to be affecting bees especially hives that have been sheltered from cold winds.

Its now only 16th March and on today's first apiary inspections the 3 hives at one sheltered apiary site (breeding stock) in Welwyn are so advanced that they already all have drones and one colony has made a few large, well formed queen cells. I assume these to be supercedure which have been removed. The queen is laying well with eggs present and winter stores are still plentiful. I have increased space with the addition of one super per colony.

Two of these hives were on open screen floors (one a WBC and the other a National) the OMF's did not stop them building up early.

I also noted, like others, that drones were around until late in the Autumn last year - until end of October. If they are emerging now this means that the bees had already started rearing beginning February.

Varroa on the other hand seem none existent or at least have not made me aware of their presence so far this Spring and this could be due to thymol crystal treatments in August/September?

Our other apiary site (all nationals) at Raffin Green is more exposed to the prevailing winds and all hives are also building up but not as advanced as at my other sheltered site.

Even with all the rain over the winter there was no evidence of mouldy comb within any of the colonies. This would indicate that the warmer average temperatures have perhaps prevented condensation building up on the underside of the crown boards. Also thymol being at antifungal may have a lot to do with this?

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