Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Honey update

The honey from 2009 was excellent. To our astonishment we have sold nearly all of it via the local market and are keeping the last few pots for ourselves. I hope that we have made enough money to upgrade at least two of our hives. I would prefer them all to be 10 frame Dadant and at the moment we have 3 which are 12 frame. This simply means that the supers from one size don't fit the other and it was very frustrating last year finding we'd taken the wrong ones out to the apiary. Also, realistically, a 10 frame is just a bit lighter than a 12 frame so easier on the back.

I took advantage of the brief blast of sunshine last week to look at the hives and heft them - lifting the hive to see how heavy it is gives you an idea of how much honey is left inside for the bees. This time of year is critical as the bees are just beginning to enjoy slightly finer weather but there isn't any food for them so if the hive is low on stores they starve to death. I put a block of candy on the feeder boards of each hive and this hopefully sees them through to the appearance of the first food in the spring. The feeder board is placed between the main body of the hive and the lid and the candy sits on a hole so that the bees can get at it from underneath.

Of course the wild hive presents all sorts of problems. There is no feeder board with a convenient hole so the candy is placed pretty much amongst the bees. Needless to say getting it there upsets them (although I like to think they appreciate it when they realise what it is I've given them!) and they were getting just a touch irritated with me. I was only wearing the veil (not the trousers) because usually bees are quite sleepy at this time of year. Famous last words - there was nothing sleepy about these bees! Still, the job was done and hopefully the candy will help the bees through the rest of the winter.

1 comment:

Eco Gites of Lenault said...

Good to see you again!! Your bee keeping sounds like it is very successful - one day I'll get bees she's says hopefully.

Rosie x