Anyway, it was a really good meeting with around 15 of us in the top room of The Old Smithy. Phil gave us a run down of his latest ideas and developments including, deep litter floors, varroa control, periscope entrances and bar widths. There were lots of questions and lively discussion. After the meeting many of us stayed on to eat there and the conversations about bees continued.
Our bees have fared incredibly well over the winter. There seemed to be an awful lot more bees than usual overwintering and we think the queen started laying soon after New Year. We checked their supplies in early February, thinking they might need some fondant, but were delighted to find they still had a lot of honey.
In the current good weather they are out flying and bringing in loads of pollen. We are planning to take some of their excess honey soon as we think they still have some left from their winter supplies. It will also give us the opportunity to get some of their 'creative' comb out and try to encourage them to build straighter combs. There was an interesting article in a magazine I saw recently that had some ideas on how to do this, which we might give a try.
We are anticipating they will be thinking about swarming early this year, so will be checking on them daily from early April for any signs.