Hive check at Langney Marsh

I wanted to go and see that the Warré hive was getting on ok and hadn’t been knocked over again! A glorious day at the Marsh, with the usual compliment of geese, a heron, corvids and starlings. Naturally I forgot my binoculars, but the birdlife was abundant. Lots of hawthorn out too – great for bees and pollinators of all species.

We arrived at the apiary, and all seemed well. Checking at the windows of the hive, we saw the bees were pretty crammed, so decided to put another box under them to give them some more room. With many hives, you add more boxes on top, but with Warrés you ‘nadir’ the hive which taps in to the bees’ natural instinct to build comb downwards, and this also cycles and recycles the comb reducing pathogen build up in the wax.

The foragers were returning with a diverse range of pollen which is brilliant: like us, bees need a variety of nutrients and that’s why lots of different planting is so essential for the health of the colony. Honey bees primarily gather pollen from trees rather than flowers, and I was pleased to see some blossoms on the young trees in the apiary:

The top bar hive is set up and ready should the bees decide to swarm. Normally bees go some distance from their original hive but there are few nest sites in the vicinity (a hollow tree being their favoured option) so they will probably move in next door if they do decide to reproduce.

They looked very happy as we left them!

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