No the picture is not me on the way to my apiary but who knows what weather the next month will bring.
There are indications that we could be in for a spell of very severe weather later this month and into next. This could mean it gets very cold and it could mean we have a lot of snow.
None of this is certain which is why it is not yet on the Met Office site. If this were simply “Arctic Blast To Paralyse Britain” on one of the red top papers then I would not be concerned but this story seems to have a much more scientific basis.
If you want a far fuller explanation ask Google to find articles on “Sudden Stratospheric Warming 2021”.
So what can we do?
By now you should have your hives strapped down and secure. In addition you should have made certain that there is enough fondant for them. This is a good time to check the fondant as the temperature is just a bit warmer. However do not disturb your bees any more than you need to. Every time they are disturbed the cluster is upset and it takes a lot of energy to wake the guard bees and then reform the cluster. If they do need more fondant the recipes for are here.
If we get heavy snow then the entrance to the hive may become blocked. Running on a mesh floor this is not a problem as there will plenty of ventilation to let carbon dioxide out and oxygen in. If it is really cold the bees need for ventilation is considerably reduced as they are so inactive.
In previous years I have made certain that the hive entrance is clear of snow but this year I won’t bother. There is a risk that bees will see the bright light reflected off the snow outside and mistakenly assume it is spring and the sun ins shining. A trip out for a cleansing flight under these conditions could well be their last. If you leave the snow blocking the entrance then only when it has melted will they be able to leave the hive – and then they might not want to.
Hopefully the winter will not be that bad but it is as well to be prepared. Much easier to get out there and check your bees before we get any snow.
Whilst you are here can I draw your attention to a recent government announcement on neonicotinoids.
If you are looking for Zoom lectures to watch then I will draw your attention to our “Diary Dates” page