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The Situation

Unfortunately with the cold prolonged start to spring we have been hampered with getting full inspections of nucleus colonies completed until today 17th April.

Generally we like to see temperatures into double figures and relatively still days. Something we have just not had.

We have found nucleus colonies overwintering well, with strong queens and making up their allotted number of frames, however we are seeing queens responding to the unseasonal extended cold weather conditions and slowing laying, rather than exponentially expanding laying which we would usually see.

Our queens adapt strongly to the weather conditions being locally adapted and not imported and sometimes we just have to go with them and what they are telling us about the season.

This is the first season in 12 years of producing overwintered nucleus colonies that we are having to contemplate pushing the collection date back. The main reason being that there is no significantly better weather forecast over the next 1-2 weeks and we wish for the bees to be pushing on rather than the potential for encountering any climatic difficulties when going into the first couple of weeks in your care. A delay of a couple of weeks will allow for another brood cycle to occur, giving more young bees, and a colony that wil be more resilient to adverse conditions should they continue into May. The risk therefore at this stage with a delay will be on us rather than you.

 

The Plan

We are proposing to keep the overwintered nucs in our care for another 2 weeks to the weekend of the Friday 10th May to Sunday 12th May

We appreciate this may not be ideal for some of you and as such we are giving some options for collection dates and have these put in the form below for you to select your collection date.

The above all said, if it is impossible for you to change your collection plans, and you are happy to manage a small nucleus colony of bees through challenging climatic conditions and associated risks we are happy for you to take you nucleus colony as planned, providing you are happy and have the skills to ensure the survival of the bees.

For those happy to reschedule the collection, we can be as flexible as possible for you in a bid to counter any inconvenience caused by the delay of collection.

If any of the dates listed below in the form don’t work, do let us know what does work – there is space on the form for this, and we’ll try our best to accomodate.

What we need from you

Please review the dates in the form below. Then complete the form and select your prefered collection date/ time.

If there is a time or date that is not on the list that you would prefer, please write this on the form, and we’ll do our best to accomodate.

With the number of nucs we have going out, the form submission is the easiest most streamlined way for us to process the dates.

Once you’ve submitted the form you will also get an e-mail with confirmation of your submission and chosen date / time.

We are happy to take date re-arrangements over the phone or e-mail too if you’d prefer to chat things through.

Please note, the best phone to get direct to either Luke or Suzie to discuss bees is 07752 534953. If calling the office – 01434 322981 you may get either Liana or Suzanne who are not beekeepers but will be able to move dates for you, but won’t be able to answer beekeeping questions. The mobile number would be best for any beekeeping questions.

We are out of the office running a course on Thursday 18th April so will be unavailable from 8am to 4pm.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best wishes

Luke & Suzie

Overwintered Nucleus Colony - Re-arranged collection date form