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Beekeeping in June

Beekeeping in June is one of the most enjoyable times of the year in the beekeeping calendar as the bees are at their busiest. In each hive the queen has been laying up to 1,500 eggs each day and the rest of the colony are going about their daily tasks.  When a worker bee is born her first task is to do a bit of housework.  She cleans out the cell from which she has just emerged and generally helps to keep the hive tidy, removing any unwanted paraphernalia.  A few days into her life she will become a nurse bee, helping to feed the developing larvae with a mixture of royal jelly, honey and pollen.  She will then graduate to guard duty, defending the hive against unwanted intruders and finally she will become a forager collecting nectar, water, pollen and propilis (a sticky resin secreted by trees and plants).  The bees use this propilis as a glue to fill any unwanted gaps and also make great use of its antibacterial properties. 

The queen doesn’t work on her own.  At this time of year there are approximately 50,000 bees (depending on the size of hive) all working together for the good of the colony.  A small percentage of these will be drones (boys).  The female worker bees quite like having the drones around, which is a good thing as they do very little.  Their sole purpose in life is to mate with a virgin queen.  In the meantime they enjoy the free food and lodging.  During the summer months a worker bee will live for about 6 weeks.

Bee Swarms

April to July is the time of year when the bees try to increase their colonies by swarming.  It is their natural tendency to swarm.  The bees will be busy rearing new queens and when the first queen cell is capped the old queen will leave the hive with half of the flying bees to set up home elsewhere.  As each new queen emerges she too can fly away with half the remaining flying bees and before you know it you are left with an empty hive!  As beekeepers it is our task to try to prevent this happening.A typical swarm will cluster in a sort of rugby ball shape (see photo below)

Swarm Collectors

If you do see a swarm please ring a member of the Newbury & District Beekeepers Association and one of us will gladly come and pick the swarm up: 

Newbury environs: Michael White 01635 44945
East of Newbury: Paul Jarvis 01635 862495
Didcot/Wantage: Rob Nickless 01235 510479
Marlborough area: Louise Cookson 01672 514506

More information can be found on our website www.newburybeekeepers.org.uk

 

 Clustered Swarm of Honeybees

Honeybees Clustered on a Tree

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