So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we’re not going to get honey this year. I was so excited to think it might happen, but it looks I got just too small a swarm. And whilst they’ve been building up their numbers from around 200 to possibly a 1000 now, there’s simply not enough surplus honey for us all.
The other issue I’ve found is because of the strange late weather we’ve been having, the hive has struggle to draw out more comb, which has restricted the build up of honey stores. So I’ve started playing with the psychology of the hive, by shifting outer frames into the center to encourage the bees to draw out the comb. The great thing is it seems to be working and it now looks like I have every frame in the box drawn out, which means the bees finally have the space for brood and honey.
More importantly though, it means as the hive is setup for a fantastic start to the spring. The reason for this, is as we approach winter, the hive switches from a storing mentality to more a hibernating mentality. The queen will slow her laying with the intention of reducing the number of bees in the hive so that there is enough food for a smaller group.
Come spring the hive will be ready to expand rapidly, and with the comb all drawn out, the bees won’t have to expend huge amounts of energy making more comb. So next spring, will be the time when I really learn how to manage a hive properly.
It’s been a gentle introduction so far, and that’s no bad thing!