We have spent some time over the last week or so visiting our apiaries and checking on the welfare of our bees whilst they are overwintering. This has seen us assessing the integrity of the hives and, where necessary, topping up food stores for some of our overwintering nucs.
Whilst our bees are still currently clustered in a large mass in their hives, elsewhere there are signs that Spring is coming. The hazels are covered in catkins, purple and yellow crocuses are pushing up through the earth and there are abundant coverings of white snowdrops in grassy banks, road verges and hedgerows.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) are a valuable source of nectar and pollen for honeybees during this time of year when most other types of plant lie remain dormant. On a rare warm sunny day at this time of year, honeybees will visit the inverted white and green snowdrop blooms. The characteristic orange pollen of the snowdrop will be collected by the bees and used to feed the colony’s young brood.