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Busy Bees – Spring time is a hive of activity

15 November 2021

Spring has well and truly sprung around our region and you’ve likely noticed a surge in honeybee activity with the change in season. The worker bees have emerged from their hive and can be spotted flying from blossom to blossom, foraging for food like nectar and pollen, while helping to pollinate flowers, fruit trees, vegetables and other plants along the way.

During springtime, Barna is busy checking in on all the Tiaki Bees hives across the Southern Lakes, making sure everyone is healthy and that the hive is buzzing as it should be. Spring is a particularly busy season for the bees too – as they’re focused on replenishing their food stores after a long winter inside – and it’s the time of year where new worker bees are born.

Spring starts off with a health check of each colony because bees can get sick just like the rest of us and it is important to make sure everything is in order. We also treat for the varroa mite, that may have had the chance to multiply in the hive during winter.

Once we are happy with the general health of our bees, we start feeding the hives so as to stimulate the Queen to start laying eggs and build up the colonie for the upcoming busy season. Queens have one of the most important roles as they are responsible for laying eggs (about 1,500 to 2,000 eggs each day) and making sure that the colony is strong and healthy. If the health of the Queen bee declines so is the health of the rest of the colony. This is why in spring we also introduce new, young queens if we see that it is necessary to do so.

However, a hive can also be too strong, and some of us might have seen some swarms during this time of the year. When there are too many bees in a hive, the colony decides to make a new queen and half of the hive will leave with the old queen to find a new home. We had to split some of our stronger hives (making two hives from one) in order to avoid this phenomenon, and also managed to rehome some swarms that we caught around the area.

So spring is busy for us beekeepers, but is a very exciting time as we see our older colonies re-emerging and new colonies being created. We are now looking forward to going into the summer with healthy and happy bees that are ready for the even busier times ahead.