Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Bee Update

The weekend before last I opened the hive to notice that the bees were still not moving into the top box, so I removed the queen excluder between the two boxes.

At this stage of the season, they really need to get in as much honey as possible to feed themselves over winter. We won't be getting any honey this season, which doesn't bother me as long as they have enough to survive over the winter.

Last weekend, I noticed quite a few bees near the front of the hive and I was concerned that they might be getting ready to flee, rather than move into the top box. So, I donned the gear and opened the hive to find a squillion bees in the top box, as well as a squillion in the bottom box.

Sooooo, I'm guessing the little darlings have had another hatching. Yippee!

The weekend before last also saw me on a nursery crawl to find bee plants. We came home with more herbs (rosemary, mints, lemon balm, pineapple sage and winter savoury), native bushes (leptospermum and banskia) and flowers (lupins, salvia and columbines).

Putting the plants into the garden proved to be fun, especially when the bees started to take a keen interest in the lemon balm I was planting near their hive! LOL! While I moved away from the hive, I still had some lemon balm seedlings in my hands and the bees followed. I eventually shook them off (out of my hair, actually) and planted the lemon balm a little further from the hive (about 3m). They're just going to have to fly for it!

This autumn and winter, I'm going to start work on a hedge full of bee plants. This will be within about 10m from the existing hive, so there should be plenty of food for them close by. The trick is finding plants which are evergreen, suitable for hedging, which the bees love and which flower over different times of the year. I have a list of potentially suitable plants and have started getting them. This will mean, of course, numerous trips to online and nearby nurseries - a difficult job, I know, but someone has to do it! Maybe I need to talk to the Evil Plant Buying Alliance to get some ideas??

love and light


Anonymous said...

LOL@ the evilplant buying alliance, it's all THEIR fault I tell ya!

Sounds like the bees are doing great, wtg!

Cheryl said...

How lovely naturewitch....you have done so well with your bees....

Do remember the Mahonia's are great for bees, they are also evergreen. I have had honey and bumbles on mine on and off all winter....mine are still flowering now by the way......

naturewitch said...

Hi Molly
As long as i can blame the EPBA, i don't care (tee hee:)) . . . seriously, though, it's been fun researching just what plants the bees like best. xx

Hi Cheryl
Mahonia is definitely on the list! Especially when i found out that one type, Mahonia aquifolium, is the "Oregon grape" used in herbal medicine. There are many types, most growing taller than M aquifolium, so I'm going to try to source a few. xx

Em said...

Lovely :) Gosh I'm enjoying your bee-journey NW, thanks for posting about it :)

Libby said...

I too am enjoying your bee journey. I was lucky enough to get £75 worth of garden vouchers for my birthday, which I intend to use to plant a 'bee garden'!!

naturewitch said...

Hi Em
The bees certainly are fascinating little creatures. I just hope we can manage to ensure they don't die out. I love having them around; they just add another element to the garden and our lives. xx

Hi Libby
Enjoy those vouchers and the plants they'll buy. And what a perfect time for you - spring planting! Happy birthday for whenever it was. xx

Wendy said...

A squillion bees? How sweet! LOL! Hope your little ones stay with you and make lots of honey (next year).

naturewitch said...

Hi Wendy

A squillion is the technical term for far too many to count!

I'm going to bribe my way to honey via lots of lovely flowering plants, although I must admit just buying some honey is probably cheaper! xx