After last week’s Timely Reminder, the weather improved markedly and my bees did start flying - just to prove me wrong - and I was pleased to see pollen being taken in.

One colony had very few flying bees and I was concerned the queen may not have survived. Despite the fact there was nothing I could do if she hadn’t, I took a quick peek.

Slightly lifting one frame, I quickly spotted larvae and carefully replaced the frame, adding fondant with pollen to the hive to help the colony’s development. Putting in the varroa tray under the open mesh floor also helps to maintain warmth, so the bees need to use less of their energy and stores.

While it was reassuring to know the queen was alive, this alone does not guarantee the continued survival of the colony as the weather has now become colder. It remains essential to keep an eye on hive weight as there is still not a plentiful supply of nectar, although the bees are obviously finding some.

Pretty soon, the leaves will be appearing on the trees, so now is about the last chance to spot Asian hornet nests created last year high up in trees; don’t confuse them with mistletoe, of which there seems to be plenty around! Notification is still vital if you see an Asian hornet or a suspect nest, as this gives advance warning of potential incursion locations for this spring. Send suspect sightings with photos to Non Native Species Secretariat.

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