Spring is with the hives!
Welcome from Ailbhe and Arno to your Brookfield Farm Hiveshare spring newsletter. Last January we sent out pictures of hives with snow on them. What a difference 3 months makes.... These hives are buzzing with activity. Busy, healthy bees are foraging the spring flowers and bringing back pollen and nectar to fill hive stores and feed baby bees (brood).
Blossoms are on the trees, trees in bud and leaves popping out in a frenzy of green... Spring flowers on the woodland floor and fields - the farm is beautiful at the moment! Bees are vigorously working these blossoms and helping to ensure a good crop of fruit later in the year. Vegetables, orchards and soft fruits are dependent on honeybees for 90% of their pollination.
We are checking each hive now the weather is warmer, to see how each colony got through the winter, as the cold snap at the end of March was hard on the bees. We also look to see how much honey store is left, and how the brood is developing. Most colonies are doing very well, we are very pleased. One colony is 8 boxes high - an incredibly strong hive.
Arno is preparing hives and boxes and frames so the bees can expand their colonies. At the moment we let the hives develop as quickly as possible to allow splitting hives in mid-May. At Brookfield Farm we follow the Demeter principles ofbiodynamic beekeeping.
Sadly the intensification in dairy farming due to the changes in agricultural policy are having a negative effect on Irish bees. The perfectly green fields of dairy grass, devoid of all flowers are deserts for honeybees and other insects. At Brookfield Farm we sow wildflower meadows and encourage farm biodiversity as part of our farming system.
What else is going on? Ailbhe is running the farm, planting a new orchard, and teaching at the local agricultural college. Most importantly, we are planning for the Brookfield Farm honey festival in September. More news from us soon!
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