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