Your bees have been prepared for winter - and we've hefted!
At this time of year we run through a series of checks, including ‘hefting’! Hefting is when a bee-keeper very slightly lifts one side of the hive. From this, they can accurately judge the hive’s weight and they’ll know whether the bees have stored enough honey. Bees solely feed on honey and typically they need around 20kg of food to get through winter.
During the winter months there are no flowers to forage and it becomes too cold for bees to fly. So, like many other creatures that stock up for winter (us humans included!), bees work tirelessly in summer to make sure they produce and store enough honey for winter.
If the hive is light, we provide supplement feed to ensure the hive will survive the cold weather. This is exactly what we’ve done for your hive here. The brown box has food inside it for an extra boost to hopefully help your bees get through winter.
It's a busy time...
As winter approaches, have you ever wondered what happens to your bees? It might look quiet from the outside, but inside there’s constant activity.
While some bees (like Bumblebee queens) head off to hibernate, your honeybees are awake all year-round. It’s too cold to open hives during the winter, but honeybees might pop out for the occasional ‘cleansing flight’ (to poo… yes, bees poo but never in the hive if they can help it). So they store it up until a milder day appears to pop out and do their business. This is what you can see on the plaque in the above picture. The beekeeper will clean this up.
As the nights get colder they have to stay close together to make sure they generate enough heat. By this time of the year they’re already grouped into what’s called a winter cluster and the queen is always within the warmest part in the core of the cluster.
On particularly cold days or nights they can even generate more heat by vibrating their wing muscles, producing an ambient temperature up to as much as 37 Celsius!
The hives will come in for maintenance this year so they will be looking like new again once we are out of the winter months.
Helping them to thrive
Some of the other tasks we undertake as beekeepers in helping to protect the hive against predators and unwelcome visitors.
One massive concern this year is the devastating invasion of the Asian Hornet!
The Asian hornet is posing one of the greatest threats to the UK’s food, ecological and economic security, it is a 2.5cm long insect with the potential to cause disaster for agricultural communities and beyond.
It is now known that every Asian hornet is capable of killing 25 to 50 honeybees, (and other
pollinating insects) per day, up to 6,000 Asian hornets will emerge from one nest, 180 – 500 of which will be Queens, hence the rapid spread of the species.
Buckley’s Bees is proud to have collaborated with two other businesses and DEFRA to lead the fight against this invasive and highly devastating insect.
Your continued support allows us to work on these incredibly important and worthwhile projects.
Buckley’s Bees – Together we can make a difference!