Sunday, 31 May 2009

Are we there yet?

Two of my friends, who follow this blog, complained that I haven't written anything since 18th May. Sorry about that. I simple truth is that I have nothing to say because my bees are still not here yet. The delivery date (last Saturday) came and gone. My beeman is most apologetic saying that I am near to the the top of his list for a delivery; weather is to blame. To be fair it had been very changeable and I also know that there is a rise in demand in bees, so I just to be patient.

I am, once again, expecting the little darlings to be here next Saturday on the 6th May. We shall see. The weather is very good at the moment; today we must be near the high 20 degree C. so fingers cross. We just spent the last three lovely days down by the cost camping at my friends' garden. Jane, my beekeeping friend, her bees are not doing too well. The swarm I mentioned (in a earlier blog) had not stay. The other hive is still queenless so there is a fair bit to do yet.

I shall contact my beeman later this week lets hope the news is good.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Rain stop play...

My bee man emailed me today to say that I am 7th on his list to have my bees delivered. He said "deliver", but it's more a case I have to go and collect it. Although he is just across the River Thames from me the uncertain 'delivering date' is causing a bit of a problem in terms of organising my weekends with my family. Until I know for certain which Saturday it will be all family arrangements for the next few weekends are up in the air. Naturally this does not endear me to my love ones especially as there is a bank holiday and a school holiday next week.

The weather, according to my bee man, is to blame. It is true that after brief periods of May sunshine we are (in London) having what we laughingly call our early summer weather. Last weekend I was down in Kent, by the coast, visiting my good friends, Jane and Richard. It was sunny and warm, but by the time I drove back to London, yesterday afternoon, it felt as if I had been in a different country. 

During my visit I took the opportunity to look at my friends' bees. Jane caught a swarm on Thursday and it was still in the cardboard box when I got there on Saturday. We installed them in a nuc, but couldn't locate the queen. Later on we decided (by watching the bees) she must be there. We also checked Jane's one remaining hive from last year. She lost two. It turned out that the remaining one is queenless. When I left on Sunday my friends were deciding if they should get a queen, or wait to see how the nuc is doing and may be merge the two. I did not have my bee suit or my veil, but still managed to look at the hive without any problem. Jane has this theory that bees can sense if a person is nervous around them. I wasn't so I didn't get stung. I did move very slowly though. Until my own bees arrive I can only 'enjoy' beekeeping by proxy I suppose.

"Rain rain go away. Come again another day"

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Now is the Month of Maying

It's May Day and my nose is starting to itch. There must be a great deal of pollen in the air! I suffer from hay fever, which in the past has lasted from June till beginning of July. Over the years this has changed. In the last few years my hay fever has started earlier in the season, and this year is the earliest yet. I think that whatever plants I am allergic to are flowering earlier. I have noticed as I get older my pollen allergy seems to get better. People have told me over the years that consuming local honey would cure hay fever. Well, we shall see.

Beekeeping  is making me take more notice of which plants are flowering. At the moment it is Holly, Hawthorne, Photinia (my neighbour's is covered in big clumps of blooms), and many more than I can name. I am counting all that lovely nectar my (long awaited) bees are not getting this year! As far as I know the nearest beekeeper is some two miles away so all the gardens up and down my neighbouring streets are well under used as far as honey making goes. 

I am told that that a young beekeeper, who has his bees further into the city, managed to get nearly 1000 lb of honey last year. A bit of an urban myth perhaps. But if it is true it may be due in a large part to a lack of competition for his bees. As awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping grows competition for nectar in the future (from more bee hives) will also increase. This can't be a bad thing.