While travelling this weekend I was surprised to see yellow flowers dotted around some of the fields in Dorset, and in North Devon fields with much more yellow.

Daffodils?  Dandelions? Buttercups? Ragwort?  No.

Amazingly, it’s oilseed rape already and it won’t be long before these fields are in full bloom. This morning on checking the Bee Craft Facebook page, I saw that one of our team has posted a photo of a field in Ireland already a solid yellow.

So what does this mean for beekeepers?  Initially that, depending on the variety that has been planted, our honeybees will either ignore it completely (that’s a ‘great’ from me!) or will use it to build up their numbers and store excess nectar in the comb.

The latter option means needing to keep a close eye on what is going on within the hives as if the weather gets warmer you may need to put supers on.  Yes already!  Just remember that this honey needs to be removed before being capped over.  Once capped it is impossible to spin out as it goes hard in the comb and effectively ruins the comb.

There are those in different parts of the country who will be surrounded by OSR (the common abbreviation for oilseed rape) and who welcome its arrival and value the benefits it provides to their colonies.  The more experience you have in dealing with any crop, the better your understanding.  You do need to learn about it as you will most likely come across it at some stage of your beekeeping.

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