First Pollen of Season

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Foraging for the first pollen of the season

First Pollen of the season going in.  9 Degree C with sunny intervals.  Looks like they are foraging pollen from the snowdrops, that there are carpets of nearby.  Not much activity outside the hives.  A few hardy foragers are out but a look through the perspex crown board shows that the cluster is dispersing.  The workers also look very busy inside the hive.

With the breakdown of the cluster and pollen going there is a strong indication that the queen is starting lay again.  The brood nest temperature will be increasing from the winter level of 20 Degree C up to the brood rearing temperature of 35 Degree C.  This will require a lot of stores to be consumed.  So I’ll be keeping a check on stores and looking out for cold spells.

Looking through the perspex crown board, I can see that the cluster has started to spread out across the full width of the first five frames.  Capped stores can be seen on the next three frames.  A small amount of wax has been drawn between the top of the frames and the under side of the perspex crown board, which will be tidied up when I start my spring clean inspections, as the season starts and the weather warms up.

This is a good start to the season, as I’m trying to get them ready for the autumn sown oil seed rape.  In previous years the autumn sown oil seed rape has flowered in March to April.  Here in rural Northumberland, this has been a little early for the bees.

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3 Comments

  1. So going to enjoy reading your blog!!! And it’s good to know what other beekeepers are doing. My bees had broken cluster and have been busy for the last fortnight – and at least 2 colonies are raising brood as the glass quilts are warm 🙂 So love these first signs of ‘spring’!
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Great pictures
    Perhaps in autumn you can tell us how you insulated your hives
    eg wrap round bubble wrap, secured how?
    different types of bubble wrap
    how do you stop water from the roof entering between bubble wrap and hive wall
    what if you need access for feeding
    Varoa board present?
    Is height off the ground important for ventilation eg long hive legs or stand

    1. thanks for the feedback on the photos, makes it worth lying in the snow for!
      Yes, we could put something into the summer programme or winter programme on winter preparations.
      We could include Feeding, Varroa Treatment, insulation & Ventilation, etc.
      The quick answer to your question is duct tape to tape the bubble wrap to itself.
      The bubble wrap is a couple of inches higher than the 25mm eke on top of the brood body wall, so folds over onto the crown board and the foam underlay holds it all down.
      The photo on the post on “Perfect storm for winter bees” tries to show it.
      Regards

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