Snow – not just a chance to order for next season or read the forum posts


Like so much of the country we are experiencing our first snow of this winter with temperatures well below freezing.  Whilst it may be a time to curl up with the suppliers catalogues (for bee equipment and bee friendly plants) it is an opportunity to double check that my hives are safe and look for tracks in the snow to investigate the wildlife that shares the apiary.

Hive 1 (no landing board)

Hive 1 (no landing board)

I haven’t put straps round the hives and I am feeling a little guilty.  However, it means I can check supplies more easily and the woodpecker netting which stretches down to the ground probably deters animals tipping the hive over.  We shouldn’t get any human vandals as the hives are fairly well hidden and the way in is covered by CCTV cameras.

For those who are not aware, thefts of hives are fairly common.  I read just the other day that someone had their hive stands stolen and the hives and colonies, tipped over and open to the elements, were not likely to survive.  Had it been me I think I

Hive 2 - with snow covered landing board

Hive 2 - with snow covered landing board

would almost have preferred it had the hives been taken as well – what a thoughtless waste.

I expect to see tracks of foxes and pheasant and wonder whether I will also see signs of badgers – I presume that their shorter legs will mean that their body drags across the snow surface.  What I had not expected was that I would also see signs that a male had been marking his territory – a male what I cannot say because I realise I cannot differentiate the tracks.  There were tracks criss-crossing the hive area but no sign that undue attention was paid to my colonies.

Tracks in the apiary

Tracks in the apiary

Tracks near the hives 1

Tracks near the hives 1

Lots of tracks

Lots of tracks

Walking back to the house, the extent to which the solar panels clear themselves of snow is interesting.  The north facing roof is still quite well covered but we heard the avalanche of the snow falling from the panels before we even got up this morning.

annexe roof

annexe roof

Main roof

It would be good to see the apiary at Hughenden Manor – I imagine there could be more signs of wildlike there – but possibly also tracks covered because so many dog walkers go there.

Main roof

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Back to the catalogues.  perhaps this year I should try a poly hive?

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About apiarylandlord

Definitely past it - whatever it was - I may have blinked and missed it. New to beekeeping and totally entranced by the experience. That is probably all you need to know until I work out how secure this blog is. Great fan of recycling - see ilovefreegle.org to find your local group. Save things from landfill. Pass on your surplus, locally, for free or ask for things you need in case you can have someone's cast off again for free.
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