Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad weather effects bees in the UK.

I saw this on the Guardian's web site today. I can testify that it was a wet year in the UK.  We went home for a couple of weeks in June and had some lovely weather the first week, the second was damp and cold on the whole.  I did wonder how the bees were coping.  And what a contrast it was with the weather in the mid-west! Here we suffered from a very prolonged period of dry hot weather that followed a very warm winter.

In the spring we were worried that our bees were developing too early and that we would be too late to carry out effective swarm prevention. By the summer this was displaced by concerns that the drought would mean there would be no nectar for the bees to capitalize on. However, by mid-summer I had harvested some 250 lbs of honey from my 3 suburban beehives - quite a difference to the average crop of about 8 lbs per hive that has been reported in the UK this year.  And now with winter looming fast I am worried there might not be enough by way of stores for the bees.  I fed them hard over a period of about 3 to 4 weeks in September/early October and added over 20 gallons of 2:1 sugar syrup (that's about 180lbs of granulated sugar) to 4 hives.  I think it is getting too cold for the bees now, so come the next warm snap I will remove the feeders and see how they look.  I may add some pollen patties just to help them out with the protein they need.  If the winter is as mild as last year I reckon we'll be OK, if it is harsh then I'm not so sure.  I guess only time will tell...

1 comment:

  1. This blog is awesome! Since I cannot fine your email anywhere, I have resolved to posting my message on you blog (sorry!)

    My name is Shannon, I'm an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, and my peers and I are interested in putting a beehive on campus this spring! I'm currently in the stages of getting the idea approved by alumni and administrators (there are many hoops to jump through and fears to qualm). If they give us the green light, the next step we'll take is to find a local knowledge and support base that can help is get our first hive started! I've been educating myself on the topic through books, regional beekeeping conventions, and local groups (in Michigan) for about two years. My peers and I would really value some hands-on experience/mentorshipor or the opportunity to shadow a local beekeeper. If you might be willing to show us the ropes (or know other local beekeepers who I can contact), we would be exceedingly grateful!

    Shannon Welsh