Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Natures textiles.

Took a few pics whilst spinning my frames...nothing special and please don't point out to me what I already know which is that some of them need replacing this year...however I  just thought the photos were a nice reminder of what incredible creatures our honey bees are!!

So the next time you want to curse them for their unpredictability or their stings just remember what amazing little beings they are and that in fact we do just go and invade their homes. I find I have the greatest respect for my bees...no matter what mood they are in...but that is for another...much wordier post so for now just enjoy the pictures!!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Humming with bees

This year on holiday we went to Alnwick. We hired a wonderful house for a week and overhanging the front garden from the neighbours was a beautiful fuchsia.

This stood about 6 foot tall and was about as wide and to my amazement on a daily basis was absolutely humming with bees!!

at times there were so many that it sounded like standing next to my hives at home....even funnier was the fact that my son (definitely not a bee lover!) wouldn't sit in the garden at the picnic table!! They always visited the fuchsia in the mornings when the sun was on it and then by the afternoon as the sun moved round and it fell into shade it would go quiet and we wouldn't see them again (much to my sons delight) until the following day!!

I had no idea that a fuchsia could be so good for the bees so I looked it up;

Description of Hardy Fuchsia

Fuchsia Magellanica is a prolific source of nectar for honey bees and bumblebees. The pendant nature of the flowers provides the nectar with good protection from rain. Although Hardy Fuchsia may die down in harsh winters it bursts back into life in spring and flowers for many months from June onwards. Ideal for informal hedging, this deciduous shrub should be planted in partial sun. 

Definitely one I am going to be looking to plant next year !!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A bit of an 'oopsy'

So on Sunday i went over to my hives to take some supers of honey off for extraction. The super removal all went according to plan and was very smoothly done. Take a frame out...give it a shake...brush off any lingering bees and pop it into an empty super. Annabel and juliette were there with a couple of friends and we got it done in no tie with a little working line on the go.

As always with removing supers you get a few bees lingering around and as my hives are so close I walk them home in a  wheelbarrow, this is what I always do and then when I get home I check the supers...brush off any lingering bees and take them into the kitchen.

Sunday was a little different however, I had been up the allotment for three hours and it was quite a warm day so between tasks I had consumed quite a lot of liquid....this of course meant the inevitable...I was desperate to use the toilet. So on Sunday when I got home I pushed the wheelbarrow up the garden and left it whist I went to the toilet, I then got talking and thought, 'I'll make a cup of tea', I was a little parched you see!!

This all took about 15 minutes...when i looked out the window this is what I saw......

pied piper of bees!!
Lots of bees in the garden
pied piper of bees
A close up of the bees trying to take their
honey back!!

pied piper of bees
Got this close up of one that landed
on the window!!
So those few that had followed me home had gone back to their hive and told their siblings EXACTLY what I had done with their hard earned liquid gold. You can't really see in the photos but this resulted in a few thousand bees being out in the garden!!

Now a few thousand bees in nothing to a beekeeper however the Hubby and Son REALLY don't like bees and were not at all happy about the current situation. Doors and windows were hastily shut by them and my Son actually told me he wasn't going to work unless I went and got his bike out the shed for him...of course I quite happily did this and didn't get bothered by the bees at all!!

So the sun set, the bees went home, I fetched the supers in and all was quiet once again. That was until the next morning when the bees got up and came right back to the garden!! Of course the supers were no longer there for them to try and get at but it didn't stop them coming. Slowly it got less and when I went to work monday afternoon there were only a few hundred hanging around the garden. This however was still far too many for the Hubby who didn't go out biking that evening as I was at work and couldn't get his bike out and, 'There were too many (there were a few expletives...use your imagination!) bees in the garden!' My son just rolled his eyes at me and shook his head!!

Anyway it's Tuesday today and the garden has only had the 'normal' bee activity so I guess by this morning they had realised that there was no longer anything for them. I told a couple of people...both of whom found it amusing and one referred to me as 'The pied piper of bees', I kind of liked that!!

As for the honey...it was well worth it,

Lovely golden honey.
Lovely golden honey.
Hubby is happier with the honey than he was with the bees!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Is it really Manuka Honey??


Monday, 5 September 2016

Bee Sign

Just thought I'd share my new shed sign with you. It's a metal sign , great pictures and looks great on my shed. Got it for a great price from amazon.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Annabel's first beekeeping year in a nutshell!!!

Annabel was the first Junior member to join Grantham District Beekeepers. Annabel first became interested in beekeeping when I got my bees and showed great enthusiasm and helped me out with bee inspections and hive manipulations so her Mum enrolled her on the Beginners Beekeepers course that Grantham have held on a yearly basis.

Such was Annabels enthusiasm that we entered her for the Leslie Thorne Award which she won last year and so was gifted her own hive and a colony of bees which she received last May.

No beekeepers year is ever straight forward and Annabels year has certainly not bee an exception to the rule but throughout it she has gained much knowledge and experience. Annabels experiences have been great learning curves for her and over the year she has;

  • Built a hive
  • built frames
  • Collect a colony of bees.
  • been stung
  • Talked on BBC Radio Lincolnshire about her experiences
  • Moved a colony from a nuc to a hive
  • had her bees swarm...twice
  • Attended the Bee health day
  • attended open apiaries
  • used a frame of eggs from a nearby hive to raise a new queen
  • caught and hived a swarm
  • lost a colony to starvation
  • marked queens
  • carried out varroa treatments
  • used hive alive
  • fed ambrosia syrup
  • made and fed her own sugar syrup
  • looked into the benefits and used 'Hive alive'
  • used oxalic acid Kept records of inspections
  • Carried out inspections independently
  • Annabels latest venture was to merge a queenless hive with a strong queen right colony.

After carrying out the hive merge they were left for three days to themselves and then we went back up to condense down to one brood box. They seemed happy and calm but the final outcome wont be known until a full inspection is carried out his weekend.

Annabel has done incredibly well over the last year and has took every experience either good or bad as a learning curve to further gain her knowledge. I am incredibly proud of the achievements, knowledge and confidence she has gained over the last two years. Annabel is an asset to our District and we are incredibly lucky to have her.

This year we have had a new Junior member join, Jonathon, and I hope that he has as good an experience and enjoys beekeeping as much as Annabel has.

I am hoping that next year Annabel will feel confident enough to take her Junior assessment.

Well done Annabel.