Early Swarming Bees
This gorgeous spring weather, warm temperatures and the profusion of spring flowers and tree blossom seems to have been working wonders on the local honey bee colonies.
We’ve yet to get our bees – they should arrive sometime in May, but we were at an Aberystwyth Beekeepers Association meeting on Thursday night and have been told that there have been a number of swarms already. The association chairman, who has been keeping bees in the area for close to 50 years, was there and said that the swarm reported on April 21st beat the earliest swarm he’d heard of locally by a week. As a newbie beekeeper I’m in no position to give advice, but it looks as though beekeepers should be extra vigilant when checking for signs of swarming at the moment and be ready to put their swarm control techniques into practise, even if it is earlier than swarming would normally be expected.
We’re ready for our bees now. We’ve even been assigned a ‘mentor’ from the association who we can turn to for help, advice and support if (when) we need it. The hives are in place and ready to go, we’ve made some frames up and will make a few more in the next day or two, we have all the equipment we’ll need to get started so now we just need the nuclei of bees. I think I’ll phone the local beekeepers we are getting them from to let them know that we are ready. I did mention the other day that I thought the amount of blossom around might mean that they would be ready earlier than expected, and these reports of swarming make that even more likely. I wouldn’t want them holding onto them just because they thought we might not be ready.
After our meeting last night, we have decided that we need a third hive though – See, it’s started already! Not to put a colony in just yet, but as a spare in case we get any swarms or need to use any part of it for any reason. The original plan was to have a hive of bees at the bottom of the garden, that soon became two hives and two colonies of bees, we’re now already thinking about a third hive – Where will it all end?!