Posted: 16th May 2018
It’s the start of the new season and Paul went to do the first proper inspection of the Honeydale hives since the Autumn. We visited the apiary only briefly over the last few weeks due to the cold and wet weather, and it was clear that the last surviving WBC was struggling with low bee numbers, but we now have to confirm that all the bees have died and the colony cannot be saved. This is the second WBC colony to be lost, following the destruction of the first one by wasps late last year.
This means that we only have the one Honeydale hive remaining, which is the donated 'National' hive (see pic). The good news is that this appears to be going strong with lots of activity.
The success of the National colony over the long, cold winter is likely down to the more aggressive nature of the bees, behaviour which is commonly associated with being more defensive, robust, and more effective at foraging. This colony had been left unmanaged for sometime before we took ownership, so the fact that it had survived at all during that period would suggest a colony with good genes and a strong queen.
Most of Chris' Cotswold Bees' colonies have survived, but we think he has lost some of his colonies too.
We will now need to clean and refurbish both our WBC hives before re-introduce new colonies to them this year, but from what we’ve heard on the grapevine, colonies for purchase are few and far between this season due to the difficult winter and cold spring so far, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
It's always been part of our vision to have a farm as an extension of the Cotswold Seeds business and in 2013 we bought Honeydale Farm, one hundred acres in the Cotswolds. During the past couple of years we've been making huge progress on the farm and this blog was set up to share this progress with our friends in the farming world.