The National Honey Monitoring Scheme states "Both honey bees and wild bees have suffered declines in recent years. These are thought to be linked to agricultural intensification, including pesticide use and loss of habitats/ floral resources, as well as the emergence of new diseases and climate change. Their sensitivity to the way we manage land in the UK has long been a cause for concern."
What is happening with our weather? Here we are in May yet the temperature has hardly got into double figures down in this part of the country. The days may be sunny, but the wind chill factor is bitterly cold. This makes opening hives for inspections impossible. To do so would risk chilling the brood.
It's been a while since I last sat down and put fingers to the keyboard, but what better way to start than introduce my creamed honey (also known as set honey) that I now sell from the door!
My beekeeping journey started in May 2016 and I love soft set honey, especially when it's spread over hot toast. Or if I really want to spoil myself, then it's a fresh scone, clotted cream and a spoonful of honey. Absolutely delicious. I've since learnt that this is called Thunder and Lightening. Not sure why, but it beats a Devon or Cornish cream tea.
As we head to this year's shortest day (21 December) my mind starts to turn to the jobs still waiting to be done before the bees start busying themselves in the spring. It may sound a fair way yet, but with the speed at which this year has gone by, I need to get a wriggle on. So where am I with beekeeping?
For some beekeepers, the honey crop seems to be the most important goal of their beekeeping year but for me, I only take any surplus honey leaving a good store of honey for the bees. This year was no exception. While others were taking honey off their colonies in the springtime, I chose to leave their stores. There's good reason for doing this and it's all about the changing climate and helping the bees to get through their year.