Sitting next to the hives on the rooftop, it’s clear that the Bermondsey Street Bees have started 2014 in excellent condition. I’ve put on new hive floors (complete with spanking-new, white-painted landing boards) to replace the grimy, overwintered ones, so I know that the hives are heavy with honey stores. And I can see plenty of pollen going in.
Since things are looking just the way nature intended, I’m resisting the temptation to open up Shard, Abbey and Thames hives for another fortnight, despite last weekend’s lush temperatures. My impulse to crack open the crownboards for the first inspection is being kept in check by the readings from my in-hive Humidity/Temperature monitors which tell me that humidity is below 50% and the temperatures on top of the brood nests are all over 31C. And there are busy “orientation flights” being made by newly-flying bees at the hive entrance.
Putting that all together leads me to believe that there is a healthy progression of brood in the boxes – and the mood-music of the bees suggests that this is worker brood (excellent), rather than drone brood (very bad news at this stage of the year).
So I have put off the first full inspections until at the end of March – but still a whole month earlier than last year’s first inspection, which was on 27th April!
Which means that there’s time for a little more outward-bound photography: here’s one of my lovely “winged barcodes” getting to grips with a mahonia aquifolium flower just outside the Congestion Charging Zone.