Stormy Weather (20th February 2022)

OH the irony. Just a couple of days back, I was delighted to find that my bees had, so far, survived winter. And then … Storm Eunice. Same bees; knocked to a heap on the ground. Survival and destruction both for the same reason; the overwinter configuration of my two remaining colonies. ‘Double brood’ being the technical term; two brood boxes (the bit where they live) stacked one atop the other. Two colonies combined together in this have a better chance of surviving overwinter. And they did. Such a tower, however – even with additional weights and straps – did not stand a chance against winds of ‘up to 100mph’ that took the roof off Sennen lifeboat station and London’s O2 Arena, ripped large trees up by the roots, sent garden sheds and children’s trampolines flying, and brought down power cables far and wide, leaving many without electricity for days. And yet … again … against the odds … these bees have survived. Huddled together inside their shattered home.

At first it looked like all of the frames – lying horizontally where they would normally be vertical – were empty. And then suddenly there they were; pouring up and out between the frames to crowd together on the (now front-facing) bottom edges. And for a moment we all stood there, all those bees and me, not entirely certain what to do next. Long story into short, I was able to retrieve and restore them to safety, and am waiting to see what happens next. They may survive. Or they may not. Only time will tell …

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