Saturday, 21 November 2009
Checking the Stevington Bees
In May 25,000 bees flew into our garden, just when we had an Open Day. It caused quite a stir! Chris Lewis, our local beekeeper came to the rescue and collected the swarm. He housed it elsewhere for a couple of months and then in August he brought it back with another hive. Now he comes at regular intervals to check them.
So our hive had 25,000 bees to begin with (obviously I took his word for it!) then apparently it grew to 50,000; now its down to 10,000. That's normal apparently, reflecting summer excess and winter poverty of food.
It so happens that I noticed lots of larger bees buzzing around the hives the other day, not going in at all. Apparently the queen chucks the males out at the onset of winter as she doesnot want them eating all the precious honey. Seems a very tough regime to me!
Chris donned his suit, took off the netting and then inspected inside the two hives. The netting apparently is to stop woody woodpecker reaching the honey; he doesnot like putting his feet on the wire so he goes away. Well, if it isn't wasps in Summer, its woodpeckers or badgers in winter; maybe even muntjac deer. The netting went back on, the bricks went on top of the netting and all was well with the hives. Its fingers crossed now that they are still healthy in March. Good job there are no brown bears around!