Beekeeping Season Apiary updates – June 2024

Wow…. Where have the weeks gone! The bees have certainly been keeping us busy as we are in swarming season, this generally happens May – June. It is a natural instinct for colonies to want to grow and swarming occurs when a large group of honeybees and the queen leaves an established colony and flies off to establish a new colony, essentially creating two from one. The bees that remain in the hive are left with a new queen.

Brooklands Park Apiary

The Brooklands bees are doing well and growing fast, which means some colonies have been showing signs of getting ready to swarm.

Hives Liz and Holly were both showing signs of wanting to swarm as they had started to create lots of queen cells, we decided to split the hives therefore creating a fake swarm. This involves moving the original queen and several frames of bees to another hive before they leave themselves and then leaving the existing hive of bees to requeen. The bees will make several queen cells. Beekeepers will usually reduce these down to 1 -2 and hopefully you will get 1 new queen. Once she has emerged she will go out and mate with several drones (male bees).

On first inspections of the splits from both hives it does not look like the first attempt at requeening worked so we gave them a fame of eggs and brood from a strong colony for them to be able to try again and create new queen cells. We will leave the split hives for another 2 weeks to allow time for a new queen to emerge, mate and hopefully start laying eggs.

Both original Hive Liz and Hive Holly are doing well, the queens have been laying lots of eggs and steadily growing the colony since we split the hives.  We have given Holly extra space for brood.
If the split hives do not work we will merge the remaining bees back in with the original hives.

Hive Ruby, has been growing in size and producing lots of honey. We gave the queen more room to lay so have not split this hive but it is a strong hive and we need to keep an eye on this one. If it does show signs of wanting to swarm we will look to split the hive as we have already given them more space.

Finally we have Hive Honeybun, the queen is 2 years old but she may be slowing down a bit as we don’t see this colony growing as quickly as the others so will need to keep an eye on this one. If the queen is not as strong the bees will look to supersede her with a new queen. On recent inspection she does seem to be doing better.

Worthing Leisure Centre Apiary

Most of the hives at Worthing Leisure Centre have also been doing well

Hives Agatha and Saskia have both been doing well and are great at building honey stores, If the weather stays good we are hoping we will be able to do a first honey spinning session mid season.

Hives Flo and Melissa are keeping us guessing as they seem to be trying to requeen, looks like something has happened to the queens and so the bees are trying to replace her. To help them along we give them frames of eggs and brood from one of our strong hives to see if they can produce more queen cells from the eggs. As there were lots of queen cells in hive Melissa a few weeks ago we put some in a small hive (NUC) and some bees and that seems to be successful, but the other hive with Melissa bees is not doing so well, we may now look to buy a queen and see if they will accept her. There is always the risk that they wont but we can always merge the bees back with the other Melissa bees if needed.

Sompting Hosting Site

We also have Hive Beyonce at our hosting site in Sompting and this hive is doing well. It was a new hive last year so a 2023 queen. We have split the hive as it was getting very big and showed signs of getting ready to swarm. Hoping the split will be a successful requeen.

 

Keep your fingers crossed for the requeening hives, and we are still in swarming season so need to be checking the hives thoroughly at the moment to make sure we don’t miss the signs,

If you would like to come and meet our Brooklands Bees we have some sessions available. If you are interested please email lisa@pollinatorpioneers.org.uk for details . The money we make from these sessions goes straight back into supporting the project.

We have some busy weeks ahead with monitoring the bees and we have just started our 2024 educational workshops, will share some updates on these next month!

 

Want to get involved? To learn more about animals, birds, pollinators, green spaces or conservation contact us at info@pollinatorpioneers.org.uk