Each year, the baton-change from fresh Spring flowerings to bountiful summer blooms is interrupted by “The Gap“.
This dearth of nectar-yielding plants and flowers normally occurs each June in the U.K, but this year, things are different, as I discussed with John Chapple recently.
With the horsechestnuts and the fruit blossoms now a distant memory, the Bermondsey Street Bees are usually patiently awaiting the flow of nectar from Lime trees in July, tided over by bushy plants like cotoneaster and pyracantha providing a ration of sweetness.
But right now the nectar from the lime trees and the snowberry flowers is in full flow. Even the brambles are out – and the summer equinox is still over a week away! The supers are filling up with sunshine-sweet honey and you can hear the hum of bees fanning hard in the hive to reduce the moisture content of their honey stores to below 20%, before capping it over with fresh white wax. Perfection!
But once the lime, snowberries and brambles are gone – by July – my bees will be relying on scraps from exotic plantings in private gardens, thoughfully staggered municipal plantings like those by Ian, the gardener at Potters Fields and some late wildflowers, until the autumnal ivy is available. So it’s quite possible that we could see a July-August forage gap in some less well-provisioned areas of London.
Beekeepers need to “Mind The Gap“, especially if it comes at an unexpected time of year. 2014 will prove to be a tricky year for beekeepers – just like 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 20…………….