At last we have a colony of bees again. Sadly we were not alone in losing our bees to starvation this past winter. It was such a wet spring and summer last year that the poor bees could not get out enough to forage for food to build up the winter stores. To make a bad situation even worse, those that did survive the winter then faced the coldest spring for 50 years and there were no plants around to provide food. As a result spare bees have been very hard to come by this year. A colony will normally only produce a new queen when it feels secure enough to swarm with the old queen in the knowledge that the new queen and the remainder of the old colony have enough stores and bees to survive. Very few beekeepers have therefore been able to produce new queens this year and when they have been offered for sale, they have been snapped up within the hour! We had about 6 attempts before we were finally successful. Our thanks as ever to Preston Beekeeping Associaton.
Thankfully the new colony is now installed in its new home on the allotment. Naturally they are somewhat confused as they are used to feeding in Fulwood and when they were transferred to their new hive this morning they were rather grumpy and aggressive. However, they are now gaining their new bearings and have the whole of the plantarea and nursery available for foraging, so we are sure they will soon settle into their new home. The new queen is called Nicola by the way. Let’s hope that she and her daughters will provide some Dunscar honey this autumn.