Unfortunately, our bees, like so many others worldwide, suffered from Varroa, a parasitic mite that feeds off the bees, passing on many damaging viruses at the same time. Many beekeepers lose colonies over the winter, and sadly, our hive succumbed, despite our best efforts to treat the bees before the onset of winter. On one of our routine inspections in January to make sure they had enough 'stores' (food to eat during the winter, as honey bees do not hibernate) we found the whole colony had died... a very sad sight. We will now be looking to re-stock in early spring with a small colony of 6 frames of bees in a Nucleus hive.
The bee team kept themselves busy giving the apiary a 'spring clean' and sterilising the old hive with a blow torch to ensure they did not have any pests or diseases in them which may harm our new bees when we re-stock.
We have been so incredibly fortunate to have the help and support of Dr Julia Piggott from BeeEd and Mr Alan Tett from KSWBKA who have helped set up our bee project, with equipment, bees and a font of knowledge! It has been wonderful to welcome them both into school to help with sessions such as honey tasting, microscopy and pollination.