As the coronavirus pandemic lockdown continues, it’s of some comfort that our beehives are all looking strong, following the first full inspection of spring – Alhamdulillah! We’ve had a reasonably mild winter, and now some days of warmer weather.

The year’s early flowers and blossoms are beginning to bloom, and the drastic reduction in London traffic levels has significantly improved air quality.

Those of us who have been trying to take a daily walk for exercise will have noticed the difference. The photo shown here of a bee foraging was taken on the same day as the inspection of our beehives, 11 April 2020, on the edge of Aspen Way in Tower Hamlets, a normally very busy road emerging from the Limehouse Link.

As bees can fly for up to 3 miles in their search for nectar and pollen, it’s entirely possible that this bee was from one of our hives!

Our beekeepers report that all the hives on the roof are continuing to do well, and are building up strongly. They have added a ‘super’ to every hive, as the bees have started to bring in nectar. (A ‘honey super’ is an extra layer which is used for the bees to store their honey; the queen can’t get in there to lay eggs, because the super is separated from the ‘brood box’ below by a ‘queen excluder’ – a thin mesh that worker bees can get through, but the larger queen cannot.)

Both Maryam Centre observation beehives have also come well through the winter, and are expanding nicely. These are the beehives that can be seen from first-floor link to our Baraka Khan Visitor Gallery, allowing a wonderful close-up view of these active beehives without having to worry about wearing protective clothing.

The taller beehive shown in the photo has been given 2 supers. The other beehive is still building up, and will be given a super in a few weeks time, insha’Allah.

Finally, the last photo shows the observation beehive after the cover has been removed. You can see the top edges of 10 vertical frames, and on these edges you can see some of the wax comb the bees have made.

Removing the lid has exposed honey from some of the cells, especially on the right-hand side, so the bees are quickly trying to ‘save’ the honey, which they will store again elsewhere inside the hive.

If all goes well, insha’Allah, we may have some more honey available for sale later in the year!