Winter Solstice and the Thermosolar hives

It’s the shortest day today, and the weather has been calm and cool. Rain is forecast for the rest of the week (including, obviously, the Christmas weekend) so I wanted to go and check on the Thermosolar hives while it was at least dry, if a little cold for the bees to be flying. A Buzzard flew overhead, mobbed by corvids, but other than that and the odd baa from the grazing sheep under the panels, it was blissfully quiet.

I wanted to check the inspection boards to see if there was activity. These boards sit underneath the mesh floor of the hive and catch the detritus from the bees in the combs above, including the Varroa mites. At this time of year there tends to be very little on the boards as the bees are tucked up and waiting for Spring, but it is a good idea to check the boards periodically over the cooler months.

Nothing much to report here…a few mites and a LOT of condensation which is odd as the hives are meant to be well ventilated but I hope the bees are ok in there. If the moisture is collecting on the back walls and dripping down that’s fair enough but it’s not great if it’s dripping on to the bees themselves. I scraped the boards clean and will go back and see what’s what next month.

I went for a wander around to see what else was happening on site. Given the time of year there was not much activity but it was nice to see Blackbirds and Blue Tits in the hedges, and a Kestrel on the power lines. The rosehips are being munched too!

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