The spring dwindle

Alf Brugman Beekeeping Blog

This spring around Melbourne has seen a quite severe cold snap having a detrimental effect on our beehives. Queens have produced a lot of brood in October and the cold and windy weather into November has stopped the field bees from flying and so, instead of gathering pollen and nectar, bees have been eating into their stores in the hive. Hives have lost a lot of weight and some are barely making it while some swarms collected recently have not survived.
Our bees in the north of the state have been doing much better because it has been warmer during the day and there has been less rain and more time for bees to fly. Hopefully after the warmer temperatures expected next weekend the season will finally begin.
We have hives on the Silvertop eucalyptus at the moment and a few weeks ago we thought we were in for a good crop of choice spring honey. The hives came out of winter in good condition and the nearby hillside was white with eucalypts flowering. It has been so cold and wet recently that hives are losing weight rather than gaining it. Foiled by the Spring Dwindle again!