Down at the apiary – June 2016

I haven’t been that active with the blog this year but the bees have more than made up for my lack of activity.

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Back in December we took the chainsaws into the woods on the land where the apiary is located and cut a new clearing, then moved the bees during the only short cold spell we experienced and it even snowed on the day of the move which at least kept the girls in the hives! Hopefully this will now be a place that they can stay for the next few years surrounded by flowering trees, wild flower meadows,  hedgerows and an RSPB nature reserve which is being returned to heather and gorse.

The warm winter didn’t really see an end to the bees flying and being active in the hives. I treated with oxalic acid at the end of December once we had moved the hives then started to feed bee candy which I do every year as a form of insurance. When I checked the hives in February all was fine but at the next check in March I saw that one colony had died from isolation starvation despite having candy sitting on the frames right above them. This is the second time that I have experienced this in 7 years of beekeeping but it still brings great sadness when you open a hive to find it dead inside with the last bees left head first in the cells trying to find food.

The four remaining colonies expanded fast and two were ready to be artificially swarmed by early May. I carried out the splits easily enough as this is a routine operation in any beekeepers year but subsequent checks saw both swarmed colonies rapidly establish themselves , drawing out new comb only to swarm again leaving new queen cells behind a few weeks later.

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I’ve also been joined by a new helper this year as my 6 great old daughter expressed an interest in coming to see the bees. We were able to buy her a small lightweight suit from ‘Simon the beekeeper’ online which should give her a few years use and she has been helping out every since. To be honest I expected her to be a bit afraid when she first met the ladies but she has shown no fear and just wants to get stuck in despite being covered in bees most of the time…
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Today we have been checking on the swarm hives together to make sure that the new queens have hatched, had successful mating flights and are producing new workers. We found a few and marked them as we went…
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We then checked on the hives that seem to have passed through May without threat of swarming only to find that they have been busy making preparations in the last few days so once again we quickly split the hives and will wait to see what comes over the next few weeks.
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I hope you enjoy sharing my beekeeping journey with me, please feel free to comment or share.

I can also be found at @danieljmarsh on twitter or British Beekeepers page on Facebook.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. How lovely to have a six year old helper 🙂

    Reply

    • She’s really attentive and absorbs knowledge like a sponge, there’s never any pressure to join me so she gets to choose but hopefully she will want to keep helping and maybe take over from me one day 🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by Malcolm wilkie on June 26, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I am always interested by your blog. A pity we never see you at meetings as I think you would have such a lot to teach us all. Perhaps in November you could come to Our honey show and we could taste some of the delicious honey your girls make.
    Malcolm

    Reply

  3. Sorry sent before completion. .. I’m sure I will come along at some point if I can fit it in around work and kids clubs! Hope your bees are doing well this year?

    Reply

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