An update on the Adnams Bees

Steve, Adnams Beekeeper updates us on what he has been working on this winter and the Adnams Bees, enjoy reading!

I have worked flat out during this winter to build 10 new Beehives for the Adnams Bee Corridor.

Here’s the results!

With lots of ideas on expansion, the Covid-19 virus has certainly altered my plans. My Bees are so important and I guess when I put on my Bee suit it is the easiest way to self isolate, folk certainly stay away! Beekeepers during this period can visit and maintain the bees with authority from DEFRA provided they keep to the rules on social distancing from others.

The Adnams Bee Corridor runs from my Apiary at Pakefield via Gisleham, to Henstead then to Frostenden and finishes at the Adnams Distribution Centre at Reydon. The amount of hives varies with a maximum of 40 in total, sadly this year over the winter months I lost 3 hives, just breaks your heart when they don’t make it through the winter. Bees need about 25kg of sugar per hive to survive the winter plus I leave a full honey super (box) as an extra. They just love my mixed apple cider vinegar which I leave as a treat on the top of the hive known as the Crown Board.

You may have noticed the fields of Oil Seed Rape with its bright yellow flowers, at this time the bees are foraging there flat out, bringing pollen and nectar back to their hives. Surprisingly they can soon fill a honey super with its 10 frames which can hold up to 20lb of honey. Each hive should be visited every 7 days to check that they are not about to swarm - this is when the original queen makes off to find a new home with 20,000 bees or thereabouts. If you get a swarm during this summer check out the BBKA site for your local Swarm Collection Service.

This is a good service and a great way to save our valuable Honey Bees, the ones I have saved take up a happy home in our Adnams Beach Hut Beehives forming the Bee Corridor. This year I shall be placing more hives at The Southwold Flower Company flower field near Wangford - positive pollination.

Worker bees (the girls) do all the work and during the summer they only live for about 6 weeks- 3 weeks in the hive nursing the brood then 3 weeks foraging. However the drones (boys) just hang out drinking nectar and searching for a queen to mate with, if successful the drone dies in the mating process! The queen just lays eggs, up to 2,000 a day and is fertile up to three and a half years after mating.

The bees are taken on tour each year but sadly all shows this year have been cancelled. Here’s a few pics of me and the bees on tour at The Suffolk Show 2019. The queen marked in green.

And finally here are a few pictures of a Beer Hive I built a few years ago.

Stay Safe,

Steve Barrett

Adnams Beekeeper