Bees in the Wind – The Joys of Coastal Beekeeping
After last nights excitement with the arrival of our first bee colony we were keen to see them get off to a good start today. Unfortunately for the bees, Ivor, our local katabatic wind kicked in and it was blowing at 40 knots all day.
The bees did start venturing out at about 10 am but as soon as any of them poked their heads out of the entrance and onto the landing board they got blown away, possibly never to be seen again. Some did try getting back in but it was painful to watch them struggling against the wind and not one of them made it back into the entrance in all the time we watched. Some would manage to alight on the landing board only to get blown off as they struggled towards the entrance. Others would land on the lee side of the hive but couldn’t make it around the corner to the entrance either. In the end there was a mass of bees huddled on the floor beneath the hive trying to shelter from the wind.
I’m sure colonies of bees must have experienced winds like this before, but the winds we get here really are more than most people, and presumably most bees, experience. Something had to be done so we headed into Aberystwyth and bought some windbreak material and some fence posts. I then set about creating a bit of a windbreak for them. It took me a while, frantically scrambling about in the undergrowth and wrestling with a 5m long screen in screaming winds but I got there in the end.
It seemed to work. As soon as I had put the windbreak up, bees started to make it back to the hive and they were soon re-entering through the entrance. Phew, we may have saved the day.
It’s always going to be a struggle for them here and I’m sure they will always be bees on the edge, but we’ve got to at least try to give them a fighting chance. I can see many blog posts about coastal beekeeping on the edge in much the same way as we struggle to make the garden nice against the odds.