2018 Western Region Annual Report by Colin Pavey, Regional Bee Inspector.
This season could very accurately be described as a tale of two halves! Winter went on and on, giving us a start to the season two or three weeks later than usual. Once over the disappointment of abnormal winter losses, mainly starvation, spring proved difficult, with colonies slow to build and not ready in numbers for any spring flow. Into the second half and we had a totally different story summer saw long periods of hot sunny weather and excellent nectar flows. Farming friends remind me that it was rubbish for their crops, too dry for grass or cereals, but there was bounty a-plenty out there for our bees. Late summer and early autumn were kind too, giving plenty of opportunity for late feeding.
Any of you who had planned to attend – and did not get to – the Beetradex event will remember the massive snowdrifts, with spindrift snow driven by a bitingly cold east wind, aptly named The Beast from the East. Once all that was over, and colonies were building, things did start to approach something you could describe as normality. There was a pronounced June gap early in June, but the nectar producing plants for the main flow, the bramble, clover, and lime, didn’t disappoint. The oft heard beekeeping phrase ‘every season is different’ certainly applied this year, the blackberry seemed to yield over several weeks, whereas last year it was over in a very short time.
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