A difficult Summer

A difficult Summer

It has been a very difficult summer for a beekeeper. A lot of beekeepers have reported colonies dying and of producing very little honey.  This is probably due to the weather.

Potted Honey

I did manage a harvest although much reduced compared to previous years. Luckily, I did not lose more colonies than I anticipated but it is always miserable to see another empty hive without knowing the reason why the bees disappeared or died. There is always a nagging question: what have I done or not done. It is of little comfort to find that I am not alone. According to the French Government Info about 30% of the bee population disappears each year in France. 

2 COMMENTS

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Victoria

30% each year! That is heart-breaking. Are new bees being made to replace them each spring?

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MJ

The 30% figure is in respect of colonies, therefore queens. Modern beekeeping allows for this even if the colonies do not swarm or supersede their queen, there are losses on account of predators, sickness, hunger. Your question is also about bees being replaced each spring. Each spring when the colony finds warmth and spring growth the queen will start to lay. In my home area this happens with Mimosa in Mid February. The colony will grow because the queen will start laying and it will grow from say 1,000/3,000 to a figure of 50,000/60,000 in a few weeks. A queen can lay about 2,000 eggs a day, providing her majesty thinks there is plenty of pollen and nectar about. The next step for the modern beekeeper it to ascertain that drone cells appear. Drones or male bees are “encouraged” to leave the hive at the beginning of winter as they do not work and so are a drain on food stocks. In spring they are needed to mate with the new queens as the beekeeper attempts to divide colonies into two, so replacing the colonies lost during winter months.

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