School Apiary Update

A beautiful day at the Marsh to check the bees. We had asked Oscar at The Shed to make us a new Warré box for our hive, and he had commissioned Jim and Dino to do so, which they did – out of a former church pew:

We wanted to get the next box on to the Warré as they are building extremely fast and very busy, and we would rather they didn’t get too congested and start thinking about swarming. It’s not just congestion that influences swarming, but it is thought to be a strong contributing factor and we know they are now thriving and can use the room.

The new fences and hibernacula for the reptile area are all in place, and we are really interested to see how and when the changes occur with the reduction in herbivore grazing.

Paul and I noted that it is about a year since we first started coming to the Marsh and we are now picking up on all the wildlife the area has. We saw a fox cantering away from us on the other side of the sewer, and a pair of Canada geese cruised by with numerous young goslings. The comfrey is about to flower, and meadow buttercups are standing tall above the grasses. There seem to be some clumps of ‘wild’ flowers that have been planted too, but we really want to encourage what naturally grows, rather than bringing in flora from outside.

We put the new box on the hive, although the bees weren’t best pleased with our intervention. It was very breezy, and we need to be a bit more thoughtful about where we put the boxes while we are changing them over so that we don’t upset them so much. There was masses of pollen going in, and we put a couple more bales up to protect them now that the hive is a box taller:

As before, the returning foragers were a bit perplexed as to the abrupt change in exterior decor, but the fanning of welcoming pheromone at the entrance soon got everyone back on track. Drones were out in force too!

We mulched the black poplar saplings with hay from the other windbreak to prevent the nettles completely swamping them. They are looking healthy and strong:

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