Bees

William Hebditch - May 30th, 2018.

Sorry, haven’t done very well writing blogs lately. We’ve had some staffing problems, people coming and going, so it’s been all hands to the pump to keep the show going. Sort of classic swan thing, serene on top whilst paddling furiously underneath.

Most of the flowering season is now over and generally we have a fair set of the different fruits. Nothing looks like it will be horribly overcropping but there are definitely heavy crops of the earlier Blackcurrant varieties. Raspberry flowers have been impressive, on the good days they absolutely hum with bees. Mostly bumbles, we buy in extra Bombus terrestris bees and now have quite a large number of wild Bombus hypnorum colonies. Luckily they nest in trees and bird boxes, so out of reach of my black and white friends. Interesting to see how many ground nesting bee colonies we have on the farm. You see the remains of a few beaten up worker bees where the colony has been dug up. Just recently as the honey stores have been built up, the b….rs start digging them out. Ah, but, it’s farmers who kill all the bees…

Of course, honey bees are farmed and only survive with human intervention. If it is economically unviable to maintain bee hives because people aren’t prepared to pay a realistic price for English honey, then hives will not be maintained and bee numbers drop. Doh, simple really.  We do have our own colony of black wild bees on the farm. Magic stuff, love watching them. And they are nicely high up in a tree out of reach.

We have a new cultivar of raspberry with a code number, D3 to us, really early, so we hope to be picking in a couple of weeks. 30 days from flowering to fruit. 90 days for Ben Vane blackcurrants….Folfer cherries are swelling, our first time with this variety.

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