It was brisk and breezy despite the sunshine at the Berwick site today, so I was wondering if the bees would be flying. I’ve not been to check on them since the autumn, so I was keeping my fingers crossed for signs of life at the Thermosolar hive.
I watched carefully and sure enough: foragers returning. Not many, but enough! and a few with a smattering of bright yellow pollen.
It was far too chilly to look inside, but the pollen going in when the temperatures are still quite low means there is a high likelihood of a healthy queen stimulating the bees to go out foraging for food. I think the pollen is probably from crocuses as I’ve not seen anything else flowering, although the hedgerow shrubs are getting ready to burst:
I had a wander around the perimeter to see if the willow and blackthorn were starting to show as these are both fantastic early sources of food for hungry bees. No sign as yet, but it is quite exposed and there may well be some trees nearby that are a little more sheltered and can afford some much needed sustenance.
I also checked the bait hive was still operational: I will bait this with lemongrass oil when I next visit to see if I can encourage scout bees to have a look inside. Lemongrass essential oil mimics the pheromone used by bees as a ‘marker’ on something interesting, so perhaps if there is a passing swarm, they may move in. The second hive is currently empty so it would be good to get another colony in there so bait hives can be a good way to pick up some more local bees needing a home.