Things are buzzing at One Aldwych with the first signs of spring in the air and news that the hotel will reopen on 9th June. Right now though, it is all about the resident rooftop bees who are at last waking from their winter hibernation and getting busy building up their hive.
Corin Burr, One Aldwych Beekeeper gave us the lowdown on exactly what is happening as spring hits our bee garden…
Opening the hive for the first time after winter is always an anxious time for a beekeeper as you just don't know what you are going to find. Cold, icy weather is a real threat to bees. The heat that they generate whilst nesting in the hive creates moisture which, without the right protection, can condense and drip into the colony, in the worst case killing off the bees. Having prepared the hive with an autumn makeover to create a little ventilation and pack it with moisture-grabbing newspaper, all should be well, but you simply have to hope for the best.
The unusually warm weather in early March gave an opportunity to put us out of our misery and check in on the bees, so last week the hive was opened for the first time since November. There were sighs of relief to find it full of lively bees, with workers already out foraging for pollen from the early blossoms, crocuses and snowdrops. Even better, was to see the Queen and a whole brood of young bees who will hatch under her watchful eye in the next week or so.
From this point forward the colony really gets going as the early spring flowers offer a feast for the hungry bees. And with well-fed bees comes honey! Our buzzy friends will be rebuilding the honey store which has sustained them during their hibernation, and in no time at all we will be able to harvest the excess honey produced for the hotel’s kitchen. Sweet!