A small but perfectly formed team of us spent the day in the apiary today. The mission was to replace all the stands with our brand spanking new models (more on these to come) and to clear around each hive, lay down weed suppressant and mulch with woodchip. This is a task I’ve been looking forward to with a mix of excitement and dread. Excitement – to get the apiary tip top and ready for next season. Dread – trudging through a boggy quagmire with increasingly heavy barrows of woodchip in harsh winter winds. Things were not looking hopeful at lunchtime.
We were hoping for a bright sunny but cold day. This way we could enjoy the sunshine in the dry but the bees would still be happily tucked up inside the hives. What we got was a bright sunny and somewhat warm day. By 11o’clock 3 out of 5 of our colonies were in flight and I found myself in the strange position of cursing the weather for being above 8 oc in Feburary. I was resigning myself to getting nothing done and consoling myself with the sight of all our colonies alive and flying. Ian, Jess, Seeta and I popped back after lunch just to have a look at the bees before we got on with other jobs and the temperature had dropped enough to quell the buoyant behaviour of the bees. We decided to seize the moment and in a flurry of woodchip and mypex mulched around every hive and got the new stands in.
We left at dusk, weary limbed, but quietly buoyant in our own way. The apiary has never looked so good. Not long now till we’ll be taking off the woodpecker and mouse guards and watching in wonder at the coming of the nectar flow.