The long summer resulted in high levels of mites in our hives and despite treatments to kill the varroa mite, we had a larger than usual loss of beehives. The mites physically puncture the bee's body and make them very susceptible to viruses and other hive diseases. A disappointing end to what was a great season. But don't worry that won't stop us!
Spring certainly appears to have come come earlier this year or at least the bees think so. Pollen is being collected by the bees and there is good brood development. Many of our hives are already strong with bees. Most hives still have good honey stores, which is great! Harald and I are busy rearing new queens and splitting hives so that we will have colonies ready for the main nectar flows.
At our home apiary site we have recently developed a wet area of our property into a wetland pond and created a hard stand suitable for our beehives. We are now in the process of planting lots of bee friendly plants and trees (flaxes and cabbage trees are in now) which will be a useful pollen source in Spring. There is even a small island for the kids! Its a great project and I'm looking forward to working with the bees in this very sheltered, sunny area.