We have four colonies of near native honey bees that are pollinating plants within a mile radius. The hives are large British National hives with honey boxes above for the bees to store honey that is then sold in the neighbourhood.
The colonies are monitored during the winter to see what levels of Varroa mites are present and which colonies are displaying hygienic behaviour indicated by damaged mites that are on the monitoring board under each hive.
Spring inspections of the colonies will show any diseases present so the bees can be treated if necessary and if the Varroa mite level is high bio technical methods are used to reduce the mite levels.
We inspect every ten days during the swarming season to avoid losing swarms.
Any honey present is extracted in late July so that if there is any honey from the heather nearby, we will get a second crop.
Pre winter checks are done at the end of September to control Varroa and see that sufficient stores are available for the winter.
A bee house is being constructed that will allow wheelchair access to a viewing gallery where colony inspections can be observed from behind a mesh screen.