Surviving the winter

Quite a few people have asked why we’re not harvesting any honey this year from our hive on top of Connaught House.  As much as I’d love some to spread on my toast, it’s actually because the bees need it!  We’re hoping that the bees will be able to feed themselves from their own honey over the winter as much as possible, rather than relying on us to feed them.  As of the end of October they were still getting pollen which is great – can you see it on the legs of this bee?


However, they will need some help as the hive hasn’t been in operation long enough to create enough honey to last the whole of winter and the winter feed is pretty neat.  We’re feeding our bees something called Ambrosia, which is a commercially available mix of sucrose, glucose and fructose, and kind of looks like a big block of icing sugar paste.


As you can see, they’re only eating it pretty slowly.  The whole in the middle of the bag is where the bees come up through the hive to have a nibble, before heading back down into the warmth of the main part of the hive.  You can read more about feeding bees over the winter here.


The bees all huddle together around the queen, and operate a rotational system, kind of like penguins in the Antarctic, to make sure that everyone has a turn on the edge.  They manage to keep the interior of the huddle at a pretty balmy 20 degrees Celsius which I think is quite impressive!

So, all in all, our Connaught House bees are doing well and we’re hoping to improve the health of the Passfield Hall bees too (more on them soon).


It’s dropped down to zero degrees Celsius here in London today, with a pretty thick frost cover, so here’s hoping our bees are still doing well!


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