Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The colour of summer

We are now heading towards the end of another beekeeping season. Summer is near its end and I have just harvested my second and last crop of honey for the year.

The photo shows the difference between the Spring (right) and the Summer honey. It is known that as seasons progress honey acquires a darker colour. We can certainly see this in the photo. In terms of taste my summer honey is a touch sweeter, but still taste as good as the Spring crop.

I inspected both hive this morning (got stung on my backside) and was surprise how many seal brood cells and grubs there are in HV1. I saw the queen(HV1) for the second time this season. She clearly has a busy years so far. HV2 is still small, but is looking healthy and good. Both hives are left with a super of honey: HV1 has about 6 full frames, and HV2 has about 4. I am starting to think about preparing for the winter, treating the hives for Varroa, and feeding the bees. Generally getting them ready for the winter.

I noticed that my sun flower has yet to open up and we are already at the end of August. This season has been a strange one with many keepers saying that honey flow came to a stop suddenly in July where as June is suppose the month when there is a gap in honey flow. I expect there will be a little bit of nectar around before the season comes to an end. Whatever the bees collect from now on will be theirs. For me they have produced a total of over 50 lb of honey, It's modest, but very welcome.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Well Beeing

As all beekeepers know during the summer months worker bees live a productive, but very short life. Estimates vary, but in general they live for about 6 weeks. Although worker bees hatched at the end of the season could live through the winter. The Queen can live for up to 4 years. One beekeeping writer had pointed out that queen bees, unlike many other living things, have it both way: a long life and sexual reproduction. For the poor old worker bees we can say that they literally work themselves to death in the summer, which is a condition many of us can identify with. Many of us know what happen to the even less fortunate male drone bees.

Throughout the season I have seen few bodies of bees laying in my garden. From time to time, I have seen a few clawing aimlessly on the grass seemingly unable to fly. It is a pitiful sight. Of course I am concern that this may be something other then the end of its natural life cycle. There is always the fear that they may be affected by some unknown illness. If any reader of this blog have any information concerning this I would be grateful if you could drop me a line. Knowing what goes into producing a jar of honey ( about 20,000 bee miles) only make me more appreciative of these insects.