Apr 2nd. 2014

A buzzy spring

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The Honey Club currently has three hives, one on the roof at Wolff Olins near to the company’s rooftop vegetable garden three stories above the Regent’s Canal, and two more at the Global Generation Skip Garden just behind Granary Square.

We’re pleased to report that all the hives have made it through the winter and like us they have been out and about enjoying the unseasonally warm weather in March. It’s meant that they’ve been able to collect a lot of early pollen from the catkins of the hazel and alder trees, and all the beautiful blossoming ‘prunus’ trees particularly, Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) and the Common Plum (Prunus domestica) have provided a plentiful supply of nectar and pollen to our London bees.

Stuart Robertson, Wolff Olins resident beekeeper says:
The hive seems to have survived well over the winter, I had fed the bees but they seem to have eaten very little of the feed. Next week I plan to put some fresh wax combs into the brood box, where the queen will lay her eggs and the baby bees will be born.

Stuart also reveals how Wolff Olins plans to increase bee forage:
“On a separate note the way we have managed the garden has also changed due to the bees being near by and we are all now much more aware that we need to be providing forage for honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees. We are starting to plant more flowers and when some plants do run to seed we just leave them as the flowers provide bee food. We also plan, later this year, to plant a wild meadow on the roof to provide bee food and habitat for insect life.”

Urban Bees’ Brian McCallam , who manages the Skip Garden bees, says: “The two colonies I introduced last year are looking very strong. There are building up well for spring and have been bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. But after a warm March, the weather is turning more chilly so we need to be vigilant and make sure that the new brood (eggs and larvae) that the queen produces when the weather’s warm and there is food coming in, have enough to eat during a cold spell.

As for likely honey production this summer it’s far too early to tell. The last time we had such a warm March (in 2012) it rained for most of the summer so the bees couldn’t get out to forage! Let’s hope summer 2014 is better for bees.

Bee food for March
If you want to help bees by planting more bee forage, the best bee-friendly flowers in March are:

Crocus
Pulmonaria,
winter heather and
Clematis armandii

And the best trees for bees are Hazel (Corylus avellana) and Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera)

Alison Benjamin from Urban Bees