There's golden pollen in them thar hills

From Simon's beekeeping blog. Comments are welcome via email.


It had been a few weeks since we'd last checked on the bees, and a day-long break in the rain and cold between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis meant that we had a chance to go and see them.

The news is good. The temperature was just above ten degrees and there were plenty of bees coming from and going to each hive. Now and then, a bee would be carrying bright yellow pollen in her corbiculae. Foraging has already begin, in mid-February.

As for the food, Dave's bees had left only dessicated Fondabee, but mine had taken only about 350g of a bag in the last three weeks, plus perhaps some of the now-melted Candipolline Gold. I think my colony is just smaller than Dave's, and his is certainly more active, but the main thing is that they are making it through the winter. We left each hive with another bag of Fondabee in case the weather made it hard to visit them for a while.

Next week, Dave and I will be going to a microscopy workshop to analyse our honey, in particular the pollen in it. If temperatures over the next week allow me to open the hive briefly, I'll take a 5ml sample from each and then we'll know what our bees have been feeding on. As Dave points out, some of this pollen will have come from the Candipolline Gold, a food which our bees seem to leave alone even in the darkest days of winter. However, we'll also see clues of where they've been feeding lately — the hedgerows, the crops, the garden centres — and get a better idea of what kind of honey they are producing.

Temper / docilityFeed givenWeather
C191kg Fondabee11°C ☁