Because of timing The observation hive in Trumpington Community Orchard has not had bees in it for the past few years. This year we are taking a different approach and the observation hive is going to be taken out of the enclosure and the whole enclosure used to hive a colony. This means the colony will be large enough to survive the winter which the observation hive would not allow. A swarm will be introduced to the hive allowing them to build completely natural comb such as you can see on the left.
Bees as I have written elsewhere form a vital part of the life cycle of many of the plants used by aromatherapists. They also pollinate much of the fruit we eat though unless there is a colony of honey bees in an orchard, much of the pollination is likely to be done by bumblebees as the amount of nectar produced by apples is not that great. There is some evidence that some of the heritage varieties produce greater amounts of nectar so we can expect to see some activity of bees on apple blossom in the orchard. The trees in Trumpington Orchard are under-planted with a nectar rich wild flower mix so the bees will certainly enjoy that as well as the hawthorn hedge between the orchard and the guided busway.
The glass panels on either side will allow observation of the colony at work throughout the year, the one caveat being that when one side has sun on it during the warmer times of the year, the panel on that side should not be removed. Pictures of the hive will be added as modifications occur.