Our sponsored bee hive update

Polkemmet Beekeeping Association

The hive sponsored by Oakbank Products Ltd is now set up and thriving despite the extremely poor summer weather. Unfortunately, as for most beekeepers this year, there has been little summer honey harvest. With the wet weather the bees have not been able to get out and about to forage for nectar, and instead have been consuming the honey left on the hive supers that they collected in Spring. Without these stores and the extra sugar syrup feed, the bees would likely have starved.

The sponsored hive of bees was sourced from a local beekeeper, providing bees adapted to the local environment. It began as a Nucleus hive comprising 6 frames of bees and stores, which was transferred to the full National 11-frame hive in late Spring. The queen is marked yellow, signifying she was born in the 2022 season.

Weekly inspection of the hive will reduce to fortnightly over the coming months as we get into Autumn.  During the inspection we check each frame in the brood box. The brood box is where all the eggs, and larvae are kept which develop into the adult bees. During the inspections we are looking for the following:

  • The queen is still present, either by seeing her, or identifying that the eggs she lays are there.
  • How much honey, and pollen have been stored, and whether supplementary feeding with sugar syrup is needed if they haven’t enough.
  • Any signs of disease- especially European or American Foulbrood, which are notifiable diseases and can result in destruction of the bees to prevent further contagion.
  • Signs of swarming – although this is less likely at this time of year and also because of the poor summer.
  • Space available for the queen to lay – the individual wax cells in the frame can be empty, or contain eggs/larvae, pollen or honey. There should be empty cells available for the queen to continue to lay or the hive may create a swarm.


Bees in hive

A typical frame of bees, showing the sealed brood where the adult bees are developing

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