Here in Cornwall it’s a suddenly a bit like Spring. The bees are out flying, actively flying; it’s about 13 deg C here locally. (Sunday 6th January 2013)
Nice as it is, I feel this is a bit confusing for the bees. Last year (2012) I took no honey off the hives at all. Now viewing through the inspection window of what I call my bench mark Warre bee hive I can see two boxes full of honey.
This is a reassuring sight and I am as confident as can be that this hive and other Warre beehives of the same format (the hive is three boxes high) will have adequate supplies until and throughout spring 2013.
It’s worth mentioning that 2012 has seen a number of our Warre beehives only reaching three high in boxes rather than what I have experienced to be an average of four boxes for an established colony.
None of our hives have received sugar feed at any time during 2012 season, or any treatment for Varroa. This has been the case now for 3 total seasons; ‘touch wood’ we seem to have what nature would wish for: bees adapting to their surroundings, weather and cohabitation with the Varroa mite.
Back to checking stores, I do have one Warre hive a relatively late swarm that is in a two box configuration, they started on the light side and this hive I will now feed a winter candy. I try to avoid feeding, however sometimes you have to make a judgement call, and this being our lightest colony I if feel is at risk of starvation.
Via “The Natural-Beekeeping Helpline” please do continue to let us know how you are progressing. It is always good to share natural beekeeping and Warre beehive information and ideas.