Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Bees on my head

This is the time of years when beekeepers are finely tune to what nature is doing. For seasoned beekeepers blooming flowers mean the all important honey flow. It is a busy time for both bees and for beekeepers. While the little worker bees buzz around foraging, collecting pollen and nectar, beekeepers have to keep a constant lookout for signs of swarming. New queen cells and over crowding are some of the signs which would spur many into preventative actions. 

Swarming is of course a huge inconvenience to beekeepers mainly because it weakens the existing colony, which would then greatly reduce honey production. In some cases the entire colony is lost. In beekeeping books, after bee diseases, swarming and prevention methods are the most written about subject. Inconvenience aside there is also the embarrassment factor, although most keepers accept swarming as a fact of nature's way most beekeepers consider it to be the fault of the owner. This is nothing compare to the 'horrify neighbour' factor: Murphy's law dictates that a swarm always managed to land in the garden of the (nervous) neighbour who doesn't like bees. 

The good news, for me, is that I don't have to worry about my bees swarming - not this year at least. In the first season my bees should be to busy building up the colony. Having said that I have read that even nucs could swarm. Have I mentioned keeping bees is like having teenage children around the house? 

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