It's a lovely sunny day and our garden is gradually waking up. The winter honeysuckle is covered in blossom, the first hellebores & crocuses are open and the snowdrops are springing up in the flowerbeds. Best of all, our beehives are literally buzzing! After their long winter indoors, the foraging workers are busy fetching pollen and nectar for the new season's brood. Beekeepers are always anxious at this time of year - have the colonies survived? There's no better sight than workers returning laden with fresh pollen.
There's another important task for some of the foragers - fetching water so they can dissolve and eat the ivy honey that they gathered last autumn. It sets rock-hard in the hive, but that's no problem now that they can make the trip to the margins of our garden pond and drink their fill.
Of course there's a long way to go before spring is here. We have to keep checking the weight of the hives, and if necessary give the bees a boost of sugar in the form of fondant. This is a soft white paste, made with glucose and fructose syrup, that we can put on top of the hive under the roof. The bees will eat it if they need it even in cold weather.
We don't know what this season will bring, but we can be confident that our colonies are in good shape to start the year.