Summer’s thirsty work for our honey bees

Kairos Community Trust bees
Hot weather and drought conditions are set to continue for the next few weeks, so remember our bees will be thirsty, too. Please, if you can pop some water in a shallow bowl with some pebbles or something for the bees to stand on so they don’t drown, they – and we – will be very grateful!
The dearth is on…

To a honey bee, a dearth of food is a shortage of nectar-producing flowers, writes Grace Madden. The most obvious time for this to occur in the UK is winter. However, considering the staggering heat of late and the lack of rain that we had been promised and expected after such heat, lots of flowers have been burnt and won’t reflower in a drought. 

Not only in this instance does it mean bees start to eat their stores, that’s honey to you and me, but they also stop feeding the queen and larvae. They slim down the queen so she will stop laying eggs (fewer mouths to feed) and stop feeding existing larvae to further reduce the number mouths to feed. This usually means fewer drones, male bees, because they are a drain on resources and contribute nothing to the colony. Whereas worker bees, female bees, will work to maintain the function and security of the colony until death.

It’s nearly harvest time

As we get near to harvest time, we keep in mind that a strong good sized colony needs about 35lbs of stores to see them through October to March. On average that colony will have produced approx 90 lbs of honey over summer. We absolutely leave them enough stores for the winter and will feed if needs be, although it shouldn’t be necessary if you are responsible beekeeper. Also I suppose it’s in our own interest to keep them happy and fed so they’ll make it through till next summer! G.M.

PS from Head Office: Congratulations, Grace!

Kairos congratulates Grace Madden, our Kairos beekeeper, on passing her British Beekeepers Association Basic Certificate Assessment with a Distinction.