Saturday, 29 August 2009

The leaves are turning borwn

A weeks ago I attended a meeting at our divisional apiary. It occupies a large green space amid an urban residential area which is ideal for bees. At the mreting novice beekeepers were told it's time to prepare our bees for winter. Looking at the warm sunny afternoon it was hard to believe that my first beekeeping season is already ending . We were advised to treat our hives for varroas, and to start feeding the hive.

Prior to the meeting I inspected my hive and decided to remove the super, which the bees had hardly touched since I installed it a month ago. As I didn't get my nuc till mid June I am assuming that the colony is too busy building itself up to strength to start on the super. In spite of the empty super I could see that the brood box is in good shape. There are many sealed cells and honey store which means that the queen is laying, and the worker bees had been working hard collecting. It's difficult to judge how much the colony had grown over the last two and half months. I estimated it has double in size, which means that it now numbers at around 8 to 10 thousand bees. I saw no drones throughout this inpection which is yet another sign of the season coming to an end. My son (photo) helped me to remove the frames from the super. Where previously he was only allow to watch this time he had a great time getting to do something with the hive.

Followed the meeting at the apiary I immediately made up a sugar solution for the bees. Yesterday I checked and saw the feed has all but gone, so I mad up another feed. When I poured the solution into the feeder I noted the bees are much less active. Yes, autumn is here.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Back from hoiliday

I have been away for the last two weeks - on holiday up North. That's me (photo) laying on a rock pool, trying to catch a crab for the children. So first thing I had to do this morning was hive inspection. I didn't update this blog after my last inspection (31/7) and when I looked at my record today I saw that there had been a gap of 22 days between the last two inspections.

Disappointingly frames in the super remain largely untouched. There is some very minor effort of drawing out, otherwise no change since the last inspection.

In the bood box things are looking better. Only the end frames still need to be fully drwan out. All the others are heavy with honey. Frame 6 to 10 have many sealed cells. I spent a fair bit of time watching a young bee emerging from its cell. It is a really pleasure to see nature at work. The Queen was busy as usual running around I have yet actually seen her lays an egg. She must have been busy other wise there wouldn't be so many bees. I have now learnt to place the frame very close to mty face and by peering over my galsses I could see the cells much better.

The plan now is to allow the colony to build up its strength for winter. I am not expecting any surplus honey this year. This will be a disappointment to all those freinds who are expecting a jar, but I think given that I did not get the bees till the middle of June , and the wet summer weather, it would be very lucky indeed to have any surplus. The big test now is to make sure the colony will survive the winter.