Episode 106 - Preparing for Swarms

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By Stewart Spinks. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Hi, I’m Stewart Spinks and welcome to Episode 106 of my podcast Beekeeping Short and sweet. During my inspections over the past week, I’ve noticed a few colonies starting to prepare for swarming. Stay tuned for my latest update and some suggestions for swarm season preparations.

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I’m grateful to Honey Paw hives for sponsoring in part our podcasts for this season. Honey Paw hives are as I’m sure you’re aware, Poly Langstroth hives and we’re setting up an apiary full of their hives this season courtesy of Honey Paw. Check out their range of hives and other equipment on their website.

Honey Paw Hives - Designed by Beekeepers, For Beekeepers.

Welcome back to the podcast, and as lockdown continues we find ourselves in a quite weird world right now, traffic has reduced to minimal numbers, it’s like driving around on an early Sunday morning every day of the week. Something else I’ve noticed as I walk to my allotment each day is more people are inclined to say hello, even though they are keeping their distance, people I’ve seen over the years and never had any interaction with now make eye contact and smile or say hello or good morning. It’s kind of strange. Maybe it’s that feeling of vulnerability that makes people suddenly feel like making contact with others. Personally, I’m as grumpy as ever when I walk up to the allotment and see the slugs have been at the cabbages but that’s a completely different problem.

It’s been a fantastic week for inspecting our colonies, the weather for the last week was fantastic, Easter weekend was sunny, dry and mostly warm, however the forecast if for a return to more Spring like conditions of warm sunshine coupled with cool breezes and cold nights. My inspection of the colonies on the Oilseed Rape is probably the most interesting as there are around 33 colonies there and it was full inspections including adding queen excluders and supers to several. It takes quite a while to go through 30 plus colonies having a detailed look and making sure all is ok. It’s a great time of year to be thorough, not as many bees in the hive just yet so room enough to be able to look closely at frames of brood to make sure all is well and healthy.

Something I did notice and worth mentioning here is what is termed the “through gut” of the larvae, it’s really obvious when you look closely at larvae. In healthy larvae it can normally be seen as a coloured line running along the back of the larvae and is a good sign the larvae are feeding and growing well. The colour is produced mainly by the colour of the pollen so it may well vary quite a bit and, at the moment, for all of my colonies on the oilseed rape the colour of this line is a fairly bright yellow. Larvae stuffed full of Oilseed rape pollen...........................

I’m Stewart Spinks and that was Beekeeping Short and Sweet.

156 episodes