One of the first jobs of the year is to bring our bees back from the heather. We bring the honey harvest back in September, but at that point, the Hive is packed with old bees and their honey/winter stores. Come March, hives contain fewer bees and less honey.
After spending the winter on the moors feasting on heather, our bees come back to the Farm in the spring where they remain until late July. In a good year, the first honey crop may be as early as June. Honey used to be plentiful, with each hive producing 100lbs a year! Unfortunately, the honey bee population has massively declined in recent years, by as much as 50%. This is mostly from diseases spread as a result of mites and other parasites, as well as the spraying of crops with pesticides.
In Spring the bees are extremely busy, bringing in pollen in many different colours. The yellow load shown in the photo is probably willow pollen, although dandelion looks very similar!