The queens are busy laying up to 200 eggs an hour, some of them new queen cells, to get their population up and going for the summer 'honey flow', when many flowers are in full nectar production. This means there's loads of brood and bees coming on, and the horrid weather has held the bees up from getting out to work! When a good day happens, the old queen may bust out and leave the packed hive and swarm, taking a crowd of worker bees with her. The new 'princess' will stay and take over the hive. Sometimes, if more than one hatches, there may be several smaller swarms. When bees swarm, it isn't actually dangerous, but does look and sound scarey!
A cloud of swarming bees needs somewhere to settle and gather into a bunch, sometimes temporarily, before swarming off again to find a safe haven to build a hive, sometimes hanging there permanently. They are not aggressive in this state as they are vulnerable and not protecting any hive or honey stores.
So if you see or hear of a swarm,
please let us know.
If you want the coolest and most original (ok, a few have already done it) Christmas prezzie for a gardener friend or someone who has everything, our orders close at the end of November (30th). We decided we should take some time out over the festive season this year :) Make your decision soon, we have some lovely new hives, with new queens mated and laying, ready for new gardens to work in.
Our workshop team has grown this year, grateful thanks go to our 'Beautiful Assistants' Ezra, Michael and Phil! Between them, we've put over 2000 frames together - built from kitset, wired and foundation wax applied - and made over 200 boxes and painted them! It's been huge, but fun. Ezra and I whipped up some creative paint colours in the school holidays and painted more boxes, so you might see one or two on your hive! :)
You may have noticed another storey on your hive from our last visit. We've been pleased with how well the bees have come through winter and spring and are in good health. The varroa strips are out and honey supers (boxes) are on and the hives are increasing in height, to give the bees room for all that honey that's starting to come in. The queens are laying up well, with plenty of brood (eggs, larva and pupa) coming on, ready for the extra labour force they need, to bring in the honey over the summer honey flow.
Your gardens are looking great, with the lush spring growth, helped by the rain..:/ but now the warmer weather is meant to be starting (I wonder where they got that info from..??!) We heard a rumour that it should be a hot, dry but windy el Nino summer, so here's hoping - just right for the bees!
See you soon, Matt and Catherine.