by Brian Martyn June 2010
After three atrocious summers in a row and all the costs of keeping them alive could 2010 be a better year? The month of July is the most important for a good harvest, in this area clover and bramble the most important crops. Town bee keepers usually do better with all the variety of gardens and orchards, even half empty coca-cola cans?
July is also a good time for swarms whether you are ready for them or not.
A swarm is half the bee colony leaving the hive with the old queen, a new one stays behind, mates on the wing and starts laying eggs. We need good weather for this as well. By 1st August the harvest is over. Good weather or not, the time for the wind-down to winter, first extracting the honey then medicine to control the mites then feeding with sugar to bring stores to about 30lb, enough to last until next April and finally mouse guards at the entrance or mouse poison underneath the hive. Mice eat the winter stores and can squeeze through a 10mm hole. The bees could starve to death if unchecked.
Writing this on 20th June I wonder what the weather next month brings, could even be too dry, burnt pastures and water shortages. The joys of an English summer!