Last year was an ex­cep­tional year for bees be­cause of the weather con­di­tions. Laura Mowat talks to bee ex­perts about whether there will be as much buzzing this year

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

BEE­KEEP­ERS in Bucks are hop­ing for sweet suc­cess af­ter weather con­di­tions led to raised hopes for a bumper year for honey. A mild win­ter in 2013, which many bees sur­vived, fol­lowed by a warm sum­mer last year meant that con­di­tions were per­fect for bees.

Swarm of­fi­cer at Mid Bucks Bee Keep­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Brian Bush, said: “Last year was a per­fect year for bees, it was phe­nom­e­nal. We hope that we can get another year like that. We had a rot­ten sum­mer in 2013, fol­lowed by a mild win­ter and a warm sum­mer in 2014. At the mo­ment, it is still a bit too cold at night, it needs to get a bit hot­ter.”

So far this year, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s swarm hot­line has re­ceived 100 calls from peo­ple who need help with a swarm and in 2014, they re­ceived 300 calls. In a swarm, there can be a few hun­dred bees up to 25,000.

When the as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceives a call, they find a bee­keeper nearby to pick up the swarm in a card­board box.

He said: “Peo­ple panic when they see a swarm of bees, but usu­ally they are good na­tured crea­tures. Most of the time, bees are calm but I un­der­stand that it can be fright­en­ing for peo­ple.”

But it is not all good news for bees – the much maligned HS2 line could af­fect honey pro­duc­tion in Bucks if it goes ahead. Power ca­bles could af­fect the nav­i­ga­tional skills of bees when on the look­out for honey, one of the more sur­pris­ing side ef­fects the rail pro­ject could have on our eco-sys­tem.

Ashridge Busi­ness School has tweeted say­ing that their bees are hard at work and honey can be pur­chased from the re­cep­tion for £3.50.

Mr Bush said it was im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the ef­fort put into ev­ery jar of honey: “One tea­spoon of honey is the life’s work of 10 bees. There are thou­sands of bees’ work in one jar.”

The bee ex­pert added: “It is im­por­tant that we have lots of bees as they are the main pol­li­na­tors for ap­ples, pears, rasp­ber­ries, any crops that flower.”

Gar­dens man­ager at Ashridge Busi­ness School, Mick Thompson, said: “The bees have been get­ting ac­tive, we have four hives and there will be well over a thou­sand bees. They like warm weather and they need to have warm weather to get mov­ing.”

The Bri­tish Bee­keep­ers As­so­ci­a­tion will pro­duce a re­port on the num­ber of colonies of bees in the coun­try at the end of June.

Press of­fi­cer for Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, Wendy To­bitt, said; “They need plenty of nec­tar, warm weather is good – dry weather means that they can go out and feed. Nice, sunny, warm days are very good for them.”

Bee­keep­ers are hop­ing that weather con­di­tions are kind to honey bees again this sum­mer

A bee ex­pert gath­ers a swarm

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