The snowdrops are coming along

The tips look like they’re getting ready, don’t they?

Progressing snowdrops

There was frantic coming-and-going outside the hives today. The sun was out and the bees were even coming back with yellow pollen. But the little one on the mouse guard below was very still. It is a difficult time for the bees, as they try to increase their brood rearing activities whilst the weather is still cold.

Bee on mouseguard

And I was worried about this dark-banded lady resting on the chicken wire, as she looked sluggish. I breathed hot air out on her and she seemed to perk up a bit.

Bee on chicken wire

I let her crawl on my hand so I could breathe gently on her some more. She gently climbed about; it felt good spending time with her. It was hard to persuade her to come off, but eventually I managed to leave her at a hive entrance. If you ever get a chance to have a bee crawl on your hand, I recommend it. As long as they’re not trying to attack you, they’re gentle as pie.

Bee on hand

There was a lot of laughter with our tea and malt loaf today, everyone seemed in a jolly mood. There was some joking about beekeepers’ dislike of spending money. John Chapple told us how John Wilson (a lovely man who passed away a few years ago) used to pick up bent nails and straighten them out to use again, and he never had a hive tool because he never managed to find one. Once you become a beekeeper it’s good to keep your eyes open as you walk about. I collected some lovely pine cones recently which should make good smoker fuel in the summer.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper living in Ealing, west London. I have been keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary since 2008 and created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully - future successes. Busy taking the British Beekeeping Association module exams too!
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33 Responses to The snowdrops are coming along

  1. It’s unusual to have the bees stay on your hand as they are usually far too busy. It was nice to be able to give it a warm up.

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  2. Gary Skinner says:

    I was able to handle a few today, I opened them up in one of the sunny spells we had and was amazed to see them thriving with a frame full of fresh gold clear honey as well as four frames of ‘old’ darker stores still in the upper box.

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  3. jon harris says:

    Really beautiful blog !
    Looking forward to catching up over the beekeeping year

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  4. A January bee and malt loaf. What more can one ask for? RH

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    • Emily Heath says:

      I was a bit disappointed in the recipe as it didn’t taste particularly malty. Perhaps I was meant to leave it a few days to let the flavour develop – but cake never lasts that long in my house!

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  5. Janet Wilson says:

    You people give me cake envy! Sunny and 8 degrees here today and the bees were all flying. Interesting that those hives in shade or partial shade flew later and much less: they must be in there keeping brood warm.

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  6. Jealousssss….still -23 C here.

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  7. theresagreen says:

    Lovely post Emily. Careful with the pine cones they’re very flammable – great firelighters!

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  8. Lovely picture of the bee on your hand πŸ™‚

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  9. daveloveless says:

    Three comments…

    1–OH UNHOLY JEALOUSY!!! πŸ™‚ We’re at least a few weeks away from seeing our early spring bulbs poking out of the ground. I’m currently watching yet another winter storm roll in, and while it’s gorgeous, I’m getting desperate for spring.

    2–I just confirmed that I lost two of my three hives. 😦 Not sure what happened yet, but I think starvation for one and varroa/disease for the second. Both were problem hives last year that I was going to requeen, but still… Never fun to lose a hive.

    3–You are absolutely right about holding a bee on your bare skin. There is something truly remarkable about the experience, and I’ve found that if I can get someone to that point and help them see just how gentle bees are, they usually fall in love with them. I used to put a drop of sugar water on my finger to entice a bee or two to come over, and I’d just sit there and watch them. Magical!

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    • Emily Heath says:

      Really feel for you, we get so close to our bees and spend so much time trying to do our best for them. Hope the third hive can hang in there through all that coldness you guys are having. The sugar water tip is a good idea!

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  10. Dave, hope your girls pull through! I was feeding sugar bricks yesterday and they were a bit crumbly, got sugary bits all over my hands and the bees were most interested! Had a number of hungry girls perching on my fingers!

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  11. alderandash says:

    Lovely to see the snowdrops – I just checked today in the garden (in a gap between rain storms) and mine are just about flowering! I’ll be back to visit your blog – I haven’t been blogging for a while, so I’m looking forward to some catching up! Best wishes.

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  12. Interesting post, thanks for sharing!

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