A BUZZY SUMMER LIES AHEAD
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
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