Our beekeeping year in the UK is just kicking off now and it is set up to be a great one. Goodness knows we are owed a good one. Despite a very, VERY wet winter (with many UK Beekeepers being in the position of watching their hives and bees floating away) it has also been a fairly mild winter. The Queens have started laying early and my four colonies are already building well. These four are all in my national hives; sadly neither of the Top Bar colonies made it through winter; this cannot be blamed on the Top Bar hives as both colonies were relatively small and I hoped they had enough stores but clearly they did not. So I am looking forward to the swarming season to get some more bees to get those top bar hives going again.
So with fresh enthusiasm I move into the new season... although technically I feel I have already been a little busy with bees already; last week I had an extraction to do out from a listed building near me that had a colony in the cavity wall. Typically, they were about 30 feet up and I needed a cherry picker to get me up there so we could remove bricks to get to the bees. I had already clambered about in the attic space to see if I could get to them, but they were in the wall cavity and could not be accessed from the inside. Whilst we were up there we actually found another colony on the side of the building too... so we will need to revisit to get those out too in the future. For now though, hoping we have seen the last of the winter frosts and that the bees will be able to get a great start to 2014.