In the Beehive…

What's the buzz? with Marcus Treadwell - Garddfach Honey

We are delighted to welcome a new contributor to bay for 2022 – Marcus Treadwell of Garddfach Honey is a Gower beekeeper based in Penclawdd. We can learn a lot from bees and their community; they work as a team and take care of each other. Marcus will be giving us regular updates on his hives and their happenings in the coming months.

The bees huddled together in a winter cluster

Well… in an unseasonably mild winter, the bees have been out foraging for pollen and nectar when they should just be keeping themselves warm and cosy, huddled together in the hive. Another busy year starts in the Garddfach Apiary.

It’s been an early start in the beekeeping year, due to the mild weather. The foragers have been out flying, which is a sign that the queen will be laying eggs and starting to build up the colony. However, with our fluctuating weather, lots of rain and periods of cold at the end of last year, the bees have also had to spend more time in the hive. This means they have been using up their stored food in order to feed the increasing population of brood and the young bees, which are not yet old enough to forage.

Food for the workers

So, we’ve had to keep an eye on their stores and supplement their food with pollen/candy patties.

Worker honey bees have different jobs depending on their age. The first task of newly emerging brood will be to clean the cell they were born in. They then move on to cleaning the hive of the detritus which has built up over the winter months. By the end of their first week of life, they will be keeping the new brood warm, moving on a few days later to feed the larvae.

Marcus checking a frame of brood in all stages of development

Close up of frame with bees in stages of development from larvae to capped

When new shoots begin to appear on the trees and start to push their way through the ground, it heralds the beginning of spring, and it’s time to clear the apiary of bracken and make any necessary repairs to fences and hive stands. This is also the time we make an inventory of all our equipment, give everything a thorough clean, and replace anything that has become broken or damaged.

We also order any supplies that we need for the season ahead.

If you are interested in learning more about bee-keeping, please visit the Swansea and District Beekeepers Society website at www.swanseabeekeepers.org.uk

Honey from my hives in Penclawdd is available by emailing me at Marcus.treadwell@hotmail.co.uk or calling 07478704566 subject to availablility.

 

 

 

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