Beekeeping Season 2022 Update

Bee inspections kicked off in April and what a 2022 season so far:
All 4 Worthing Leisure Centre hives, 2 hives at Brooklands and 1 hive at Sompting host site, made it through winter, which was a huge relief. Sadly, we lost Queen Victoria, but she had reached the ripe old age of four years old. On a positive note, Victoria’s colony created huge amount of local pollination over the time they were with us. RIP Queen V. Due to the nice warm spring, swarming season started very early this year and the queens have been elusive. The hives are certainly keeping us on our toes.

Worthing Leisure Centre Apiary:

Hive: Bess
Beekeepers: Violet, Ian, Celine, Paula, Louise W
Bess depleted all stores over the winter so sugar syrup was given at the very start of the season.  She was spotted on the second inspection early spring, but then soon afterwards absconded. We suspect an early swarm. The colony busied themselves trying to make a new queen with many queen cups and cells spotted. We, therefore, managed this hive very closely over May and in June and are happy to report, a newly emerged and successfully mated queen is laying. The colony is now thriving and stores and brood are building well. A calm, strong-minded and busy temperament.

Hive: Agatha
Beekeepers: Claire, Chris, Anna, Niels
Aloof Queen Aggie was tricky to spot at the start of the season – although plenty of worker and drone brood let us know she in there somewhere! Very early on, she started laying eggs, building stores and we regularly spotted lots of lovely pollen throughout April and May. She has since been spotted on most inspections and her hive is one of strongest this season. Nicknamed our ‘Super Builder’ we keep a close eye on Aggie to ensure she has enough room for laying brood and building stores. This hive is one of the few that has built very quickly from the bottom up and the top down. A super busy, well-organized and efficient colony.

Hive: Latifa
Beekeepers: Liz, Tim
What to do with feisty hive Latifa, our more temperamental queen…This year the hive had become very protective, and the followers were being persistent, harassing the beekeepers well outside the apiary. Due to the proximity to the public, we decided to requeen the hive, to prevent genetic pass down of aggression.  Requeening was successful and we now have a new ‘less hostile’ queen. Latifa Two is now laying well after a successful merge and acceptance by the rest of the bees. On last inspection, the bees were calmer, with brood and stores building. This colony is still without doubt our more assertive hive…

Hive: Flo
Beekeepers: Violet, Ian, Celine, Paula, Louise W
A lovely calm colony, yet Queen Flo has not been seen at all from the start of the season. Repeatedly on weekly inspections, no fresh brood seen, no sign of the queen. In May lots of queen cups were spotted. We suspect she was a failing queen or an early swarm. There are many things we can do as beekeepers to try and revive the hive. However, the charged queen cups did not produce a viable queen. Despite several attempts. We gave a frame of brood from super builder Agatha. This did not work. We noticed over the weeks a steady decline in bees. The lack of mojo was very apparent, as the hive went week after week without a queen. Luckily, early in the season Liz and Tim took a nuc of bees from the Florence hive as a contingency plan. This nuc, rested in Tims dads garden and the bees created their own new queen over the season. We have now successfully merged this queenright nuc back into the Florence Hive in June. Watch this space.

Brooklands Apiary:

Hives: Luna and Honeybun
Beekeepers: Poppy, Lisa, Tasha and Francoise
Our lovely Queen Luna, a Buckfast queen, and Queen Honeybun, a darker Carniolan queen were moved to Brooklands just last summer and are doing well. We have had a good start to the season with both Luna and Honeybun laying well. Lots of worker and drone brood spotted, stores building healthily, and both queens seen each week. Unfortunately, Varroa was spotted early on Luna’s drone brood so we took away some of that drone brood and added ‘organic’ varroa treatment to both hives.  Treatment was added for 3 weeks, which effectively treated the varroa but slowed the laying significantly for both Luna and Honeybun. Luckily, both hives are now thriving and building strong. During last inspections we saw capped and uncapped honey, and the most amazing array of pollen colours at the start of the season. This year we are seeing a lot of green and white pollen as well as the different shades of yellow. Beautiful diet of coloured pollen to feed  for those baby larvae


Sompting Hosting Sites:


Hive: Farming Host
Beekeepers: Claire, Chris, Anna, Niels
Another good start to the season, during the first inspection everything from brood, pollen, honey, and practice cups were spotted… but no queen!  It took several weeks to spot her. We were worried but since this time Queen Sompting has been spotted and we have seen worker and drone brood, and sealed stores. At the last inspection, we have two supers full of partially sealed honey. In the brood box a good pattern of brood laying was recorded, with plenty of larvae and fluffy new bees with room to grow. Slower in building but healthy happy calm bees and a thriving colony

Hive: Breathing Farm Wild Log
Beekeeper: Poppy
Our log hive was installed in a sycamore tree at, Breathing Spaces barnyard in Sompting in 2021. Wild bees quickly arrived and populated this organic hive, which are designed for maximum thermal efficiency, and optimal height. This wild bee colony has over wintered well, the bees have been busy, and the log hive was half full of comb on last inspection in May. As these are wild bees they are not managed weekly in the same way. More to report at the end of the season.

Swarm Nucs:
Early in the season, we were contacted about two swarms near a public footpath, in Sompting. Liz and Tony raced over and were able to catch both swarms. One swarm came with a queen and is managing slowly. The other not so much – no queen, no laying but we have plans for revival. More to follow on our next report.