Thursday, 30 August 2012

What to do next?

The temp. has been 11C-13C all day.  What's a honey bee to do?
Well there's lots of beeswax spare from this season's work,  so how about
making some candles?  Or how about some furniture polish?
Beeswax has lots of uses.  When people were asked here are some of there
suggestions :
to seal wounds on trees and shrubs
to fill scratches in furniture
for tying fishing flies
to ease wood screws into wood
etc. etc.etc.
the uses are only limited by your imagination!
Tomorrow I'll make polish so tonight I'm assembling:
an old pan and an old bowl to heat ingredients (as a waterbath)
250g beeswax pieces
500cls natural turpentine ( not white spirit)
some carnuba wax if a harder shine is wanted
lavender essential oil (if perfume wanted/ natural wax/honey smell is lovely)
Some tins to keep the polish in
Tomorrow see how I got on.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Honey has medicinal properties

I'm looking at rows of jars of honey. Honey has been revered for its antibacterial
properties for centuries!  It is used as a cough/cold/sorethroat remedy; a hangover
cure;  helps cure ulcers; wound care.
You won't believe it but apparently bee venom can be used to treat rheumatic diseases too.

Today has been another wet day so spinning honey from comb and sieving it has been
the main job.
We got a ray of sunshine at about 3.00pm and the bees came hurtling out of the hives
always with an eye (composite) for an opportunity to dash over to the Rosebay Willowherb
to collect that nutritious nectar and tuck the fantastic dark green pollen into their baskets (corbiculae)
to feed the larvae which will become the long-lived bees to survive the winter cold.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  Queen Bee

Monday, 27 August 2012

Wet Wet Wet

Honeymoon was so named as a newly-wed couple, for the first
month from their nuptials, was given mead (honey wine) to drink,
to ensure the conception of their first child. (In those days this was the purpose
of marriage)
Today has been WET all day so we've been busy uncapping the combs - this means
removing the wax cappings from the filled cells in the comb.... and spinning the combs in the extractor.  This takes great effort and trying to get the last drops of honey out is not worth
the effort.  So the combs are still WET with honey. 
Tomorrow I will put these sticky empty combs back on the bees for a couple of days and
they will lick them dry.
Then I can store the wax comb ready to reuse next year.
A day like today is good for bottling and labelling this golden gift from the bees.

Honey is the only natural food that really does not go off.
It is a great healer and has many uses.  Log in tomorrow!
Buzzzzz Queen Bee.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Honey

Today I have been busy with honey.  Despite what the newspapers say the honey
here is flowing golden and prolific.  Remember we must leave at least 40lbs in
each hive as stores for the colony over the winter - so we can't plunder it all.
We love honey here, believing in its health- giving and antiseptic properties.
Mr. Bee (Queen Bee's Special Love) is especially fond of  'cut comb' honey.
A.A.Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh comes second as the best-known honey-lover.
Unlike Mr. Bee, Winnie had to go to great lengths to get his honey.
Remember when he hit on the brilliant idea of floating up to a bee-nest in
a tall tree as he dangles from a toy balloon?
What has honey got to do with "honeymoon"?  Watch this space.  Meanwhile I'm
off to stick labels on jars - there are rigorous regulations attached to labelling honey
for selling.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Queen Bee's Birthday


My good friend (Sarah Bee) made this lovely cake for my very big birthday.
Us Queen bees can live for 5 years!  Each is equiv. to 20 human years so figure
it out.  That's me on top but I can't bear to eat it. Still I need to lose weight. What shall I do?
Today is perfect for spinning honey off the combs.  It's pouring down so I can't
get out to collect nectar.
The News says there will be a shortage of honey for people to buy as the poor
weather has forced some bee-keepers to feed sugar syrup to their colonies.
In our local village store today a customer said that she relies on my honey
to give her immunity to hay-fever.  She thinks she'll start 'stockpiling'.

"Bees are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them"  - (Virgil's Bees from Carol Ann Duffy's The Bees)

Friday, 24 August 2012

On the heather moors

Queen Bee went to the moors today to visit Blue Hive which we took
there last week.
The temp. was only15C but they were working fast and furious but with a contented "BZZZ".
The honey box (called a super) is getting heavy - but we aren't sure
the prize is heather nectar or something else.
Received wisdom says the Scottish thistle came into bloom before the
purple Heather so .............?
The hills are tinged with that beautiful dusky pink now.  We are offering
up a prayer to that Ever "honey- dancing" Bee - in - the - Sky to bring warm, sunny weather
and that deep, deep purple and sweet heather scent to help the Blues with their winter stores.
And now Queen Bee is going back to that oh-so sticky task of taking honey off the comb.
More about that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Olympic Stadium reminded me .....



I felt quite at home in the Stadium.
It reminded me of my hive with 80,000 honey bees all buzzing!
All individual and yet all there with a common purpose.
Think of a honey bee colony as one super-organism - each bee has its own job
- nurses, guards, food collectors, sperm providers, comb-builders - all devoted
to the common good.
Queen Bee's in danger of getting Political here - so at this point she'll leave you
to think about it.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mercy Dash

Mercy dash to a bee-buddy with comb of eggs,larvae,sealed brood to boost
a failing nuc.  Took the frame from silver hive - hoping they can make up the loss.
The queen no longer seems to be in the nuc.
When these queens go a.w.o.l. where exactly do they go?
Anyway, if the little colony starts to build new queen cells around these new eggs
we have just about enough time to hatch out (say 24th Aug.), get her mated and laying
in September.  Given a really good  Autumn  the colony might just be strong enough
to get through the winter!
So many "ifs" in bee-keeping!

Monday, 6 August 2012


Queen Bee's Buzz2
Just heard European Foul Brood in Darlington area!
Must warn my troops to watch out - another horror! 
Thank goodness we have regional bee inspectors. Just E-mailed mine today to say thanks for recent
inspection. Kind, helpful,professional and a good lot of advice when asked - and no disease!!!!!
Like " Black Northern bees are more prone to 'chalk brood'.
Well I didn't know that!
If you're worried or suspect EFB ring 01904 462510 (in England or Wales)
                                                             0131244 3377(Scotland)
                                                             0289052 4426(N.Ireland)
Bee Craft does an apiary guide wth pics. (01733 77 1221)
There's lots of help out there. 
Lots more day by day "buzzes".  

Queen Bee's First Buzz

Two supers nearly capped on each hive - Blue,Red,Yellow,Silver.
Unbelievable !!  Where have they found nectar and when. Such wet days
and my team aren't waterproof!
My back aches lifting the boxes to check the brood - still no sign of swarm preparations
all summer long - the first year I've been properly prepared for swarming.
Folks are wishing for this year's honey round here.  So we'll take it off inthe the next week or so.
The Blue's are off to the heather (ling) this week as the moors are just beginning to show pink.
Let's hope the next 2-3 weeks show  beautiful purple and that heady perfume.
Now off to empty my pollen baskets - meadow sweet today.
More buzzes tomorrow.