Last Friday I considered it warm enough to conduct the first inspection of my hives of the year. I was very pleased to see all three colonies alive and well, although one was much smaller than the others. I blame myself as the mouseguard across the entrance to this colony was largely blocked with dead bees and thus the bees had only a tiny exit to go foraging. The bees had plenty of honey in store so did not suffer but it meant the Queen had laid very few eggs. I should have spotted this beforehand. The other two colonies were very well established and as usual one of them was a little aggressive and rewarded my interest with a sting through a glove finger.
However, I am pleased to have kept three colonies alive over the Winter and last Summer was able to take my first harvest of honey. I only took 40lbs and sold out of it within two weeks. I now realise I could have taken more as the bees did not use it but I think I was right to be cautious. This year I hope to set up a second apiary and expand to a total of six hives so that I can increase honey production. I also plan on planting flowers near both apiaries that will provide good forage for the bees all year round. I never thought I would take up gardening!