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  • Beefarmer John

Our new workers have arrived!

At the beginning of the week we had a very early alarm call. Our new colonies arrived from Scotland at 4 am and then after a bacon butty and a cuppa for their chauffeur, it was all go. We had prepared all the isolation apiary sites by clearing the ground and putting the stands in place but we still needed to install our new bees.

They were placed into our isolation apiaries so that there is chance for us to examine the colonies closely and see if they needed anything such as space, supers, or feed.

So after a long journey down most of the M6, our new bees were ready to explore their new surroundings. This gave Wendy a chance to learn some new techniques for her apprenticeship and to work with new equipment.

The day the bees arrived was warm and sunny, so getting them to the apiaries and flying was vitally important so that they were not shut up in the hive for any longer than necessary. The same reason we buy our Queens straight from the breeder, not from a third party, less time shut in for them. Once the colonies were placed onto the hive stands our first job was to open the entrances, then remove the travelling screens and then add the Queen excluder and put two supers on. The first super was of foundation and the top super was of drawn comb. We were then able to sit back and watch them send the scout bees out to locate the food sources and communicate the information back to the other bees in the hive.

The colonies were left to settle in for a couple of days before we went back and conducted full inspections. During these we checked for all stages of brood including eggs, larvae and sealed brood. We also looked for signs of good health within the hive. It is always good to see the Queen, but if we have seen all stages of brood present and not the Queen, we are happy as the queen is laying eggs and the hive is expanding as expected. We also look for any signs of diseases such as nosema, deformed wing virus and foul brood. If disease is ever noted then the appropriate treatment is carried out which may include moving the colony to an isolation apiary so that the disease cannot spread.

Elsewhere within the Hedgerow Honey hive, we are busy working with our local companies to prepare for world bee day on Friday 20th May. We have an apiary within the ABP grounds and they are extremely keen to promote our partnership and working together with the bees. The apiary there is expanding so we are busy painting hives in ABP colours to move some of our nucs into full national hives.

We are also delighted to announce that Shrewsbury Museum is now stocking our honey, they currently have an exhibition of Ladybird Artists which we are hoping to visit very soon, when the bees allow!

Our honey room renovation is also progressing well ready for our first extraction of the year this week.

That's all for this week, have a good week, stay safe and happy beekeeping from us all at HH.

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