MARCH

Well, Spring is officially upon us, or so rumour has it, and I’m sure the experts are right, after all, we have seen the sun on at least two occasions this week. Enough to bring the bees out in some numbers and to turn my thoughts to the season ahead. Gone are the feelings of doom and gloom that had beset me since my hospital excursion. I have ordered two new queens to bring the colony numbers back up to strength and have started giving the empty hives their annual coat of Cuprinol, so as I said, things are looking up.

Coming to the end of the month now and pleased to say, things are really beginning to shape up. All the empty hives have had their Spring-clean, brace comb and propolis removed prior to a quick scorching with the blowlamp. Cuprinolling finished,

fresh cuprinol all station hives 005

CUPRINOLLING HIVES FINISHED

fresh cuprinol all station hives 001

AND MOST OF THE EMPTY SUPERS

all the old wax removed and most of the frames boiled up to await their new foundation, in fact, I started re-waxing yesterday. It was a lovely day and it seemed a shame to waste it. What with the weather we’ve endured of late and now this blasted virus hanging over us it was a simple decision to make. Sitting in the sun, outside the shed in front of my workmate with a cup of coffee and a packet of crisps, I’d finished re-waxing thirty frames in no time, and enjoyed every minute of it. I’d have done more but for stupidly allowing myself to run out of foundation, something which I set about remedying the moment I got home. With luck, the postman should have ten new packs in his sack for me the beginning of next week.

FEBUARY

Still reliant on my beekeeping friends to keep an eye on my bees for me, and I shall be eternally grateful for all the help I’ve received. However, in between storms, I have managed to visit my sites but have had to view from the car parks, I’ve not been able to see many bees but have been able to satisfy myself that none of the roofs have become dislodged nor any other disaster befallen them. Last Saturday all off that changed. I woke, not to the sounds of tiles and guttering rattling, but to bright sunshine pushing through the curtains. Well aware of how changeable the weather has been of late, I wasted no time in heading for my nearest apiary site. Most of the fruit trees in the orchard are beginning to blossom and I couldn’t help noticing, as I left the car that, almost every blossom had a bee in attendance. With the help of my walking stick, for the first time since leaving hospital, I made my way up to the hives, and what an uplifting sight beheld me. Hundreds of bees coming and going in all directions, all totally oblivious to me approaching. I stood watching them, totally absorbed by their actions for about ten minutes before making my way back to the car and on to The Station Apiary where, thankfully, the sight with which I was greeted was much the same. Bees issuing in numbers from all of the hives and the nuc’s. Driving home I found myself thinking of the season ahead and even planning what increases I was going to make, gone were the were the feelings of doom and gloom which had plagued me for the last couple of months. Amazing the difference a little sunshine makes.

JANUARY

It was well into January before I was finally allowed home and I have to say, my first thoughts were, how long before I could visit my bees. Again it was my fellow beekeepers who came to my aid. ” Let me know when you want to visit your bees and I’ll take you”, the first of many offers I gratefully received. And so, one week later, there we were, in the car park at Mendip “C”. Not at this point able to approach the hives, I was happy just to lean against the car and watch the bees coming and going making the most of the weak Spring sunshine. At last I felt back in the land of the living, and with my thoughts now, for the first time in a long time, firmly of the year to come, we made for home.