Friday, 6 December 2013

Honey Cake 2

Birthday boy liked the honey cake but thought it would be moister with honey/butter icing sooooo.....

Monday, 2 December 2013

Bellingham Christmas Fair

Redesdale beekeepers - sorry to miss our last meeting at the First & Last.  I enjoyed a night-out at
The Errington Arms with friends from the Border Reiver days. It was a Ratpack night - great music
and very good food too. BUT no Bourbon and no Scottish malts either!

I'm selling candles at Bellingham Late night Christmas Shopping - I think this will be the last Fair before I go into hibernation. If anyone wants any candles please let me know.

It's Senior Drone's birthday tomorrow so QB made him
a Honey cake from the recipe on an earlier Blog (19/11/2013)

Hope it tastes OK.  This is my first attempt.

Stil buzzzzzzzing QB

Saturday, 23 November 2013

BBKA Survey: Honeybees warm to their work.

Headline : Honeybees warm to their work 

If you go on to you'll find some interesting highlights from 2013 Survey.
For example : Honey production rose to 24.7lbs/hive in 2013 compared to 8.1lbs last year.
(3x last year's but still below average )
20years ago you would expect to get 40lbs/hive.
In 2013 1:10 beekeepers took no honey crop. Some decided to leave all the stores in the hive
in preparation for a potentially bad, long winter 2013/2014.

Weren't we lucky?  Those black, hardy northern workers
managed 70lbs each productive hive. QB left a full super on each
hive + whatever was in the broodbox + all those kgs of sugar syrup
we fed them in Sept.
It's still vital to regularly heft the hives as winter deepens/lengthens, making decisions about fondant when the weight is estimated as
alright or low.

If you are thinking of giving gifts with a honeybee theme this Christmas try The Pollen Basket , the BBKA
Official Shop.  There are some OK things, depending on your taste for the 'corny'!!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Not much Forage

A brisk walk around my frost-bound garden soon revealed, well, very little of interest to a honeybee!

The mahonia is just coming into full bloom - for the first year as it's only 2 years old.  Bees love this but of course they're all tucked up snug in their cosy double-walled WBC homes. Air temp. is 2C and Big Cheviot is covered in snow.
Still QB is happily buzzing around!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Recipe for Honey Cake

HONEY CAKE : to make if you're lucky enough to have any honey left!

225G butter ;  250g honey;  100g dark muscovado sugar;  3 lg. eggs beaten; 300g S.R.flour.

Preheat oven to 160C (140c fan)

Grease and line 20cm. cake tin.
Cut butter into pieces and drop into med. pan with the honey and sugar.
Melt slowly over low heat.
Then inc. heat and boil for 1 min.
Leave to cool.
When cool beat eggs into honey mixture.
Beat flour into egg and honey mixture to a smooth batter.
Pour into tin and cook for 1-11/2 hrs. Test with skewer - done when comes out clean
and cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed.
Turn cake out onto wire rack and glaze with 2-3 tbs. melted honey.

Thanks Jean for this recipe.

HBKA at Tyne Valley G.C.(Mickley)

This HBKA stand was set up in unison with Broomley 1st School.  The children now have bee colonies and are learning about bee-keeping.  There were some lovely crafted items made by the children. When we got there the GC staff were really helpful.  We set about reorganising the stand as it was difficult to see the gifts and we needed more space for our candles, honey and polish.  We eventually set up a second table to try to solve the space issue.

There was a great deal of interest from the Christmas Fair visitors.
They loved The Honey cake made by Philip's wife as well as sampling the honey. Sales of candles went well and many visitors were interested in how they were made as well as being curious about the other  uses of beeswax. We talked to a lot of people about the pleasure and importance of keeping bees. Generally a very good day - fulfilling the educational  purpose of the HBKA stand.

The reindeer put on a good show too, although this one, Doughnut was in a very grumpy mood - typical blokey attitude as Christmas approaches!  He decided to rub the velvet off his magnificent antlers and treated the public to bloody antlers with streamers of velvet hanging off in ribbons. Try explaining that to the kids.

For us mere humans a tiring day but worth it. Tynedale Valley GC is really well worth visiting.
QB still buzzing

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Final final checklist/varroa count

Yes this is it.  Looking at today/tomorrow weather forecast I see that, surprisingly!, the pollen count is LOW. Heavy bricks on hive roofs as a precaution against the threatened hurricanes.
All feeders removed now and Porter escapes replaced.  The amounts taken of sugar syrup range from 14kg(Red ) to 8kg(Yellow).
Apiguard 2nd tray and eke removed from all. Made note of product name/supplier/date applied/batch no.
Time for a final varroa count.
The Silver colony have 9 mites over 28days.
Red, Yellow, Blue, Miniblue have 0 mites!  QB got a second opinion - couldn't believe her own eyes!
Replaced varroa tray to reduce chill and strong draughts.
Check insulation is adequate.
Check (regularly) underside of roof is dry. (If not exchange for spare dry and put damp roof in warm place)

Final jobs : to lift broodbox and super above a dry empty super to give them cluster space.
                : secure mouseguards.
We're going into 2014 with 2 young red-marked queens (Silver & Miniblue);  2 (2011) white-marked
queens (Yellow & Blue);  1 (2010) blue-marked queen (Red colony) - although I'm hoping they successfully
reared a young queen from the healthy queen cells I found in August.  Time will tell.

Next - still got things to prepare for next year and for Mickley Garden Centre (actually Tyne Valley GC) Christmas Fare 16/17th Nov.
Keep Happy QB

Saturday, 19 October 2013

These Black Northern Bees !!

Thursday : 12C and honey bees are foraging around our garden.
These 'black' bees are so hardy!

 There are still a feww varieties of flowers to tempt them out of their warm combs.
Rudbeckia (Goldsturm) will flower up to the first heavy frost.
These are NOT the bees first choice.

Globe thistles are looking tired but still have some nectar (and pollen) to offer.
Biggest surprise to me is the popularity of these clumps of garlic chives in the vegetable garden - positively buzzing - though naturally by the time the shot was lined up only one was still around! Typical!

If you have amazing eyesight you will see the bees flying in and out of the hives.  This is around midday and the sun is low in the sky.
Not much chance of these blackberries ripening this side of Christmas!!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Village Horticultural Show / Feeding bees

Highlight of the village social life is the local show.
There's strongly fought competition for Fell Racing, Wrestling, Border Collies, Border terriers,
Baking, Photography, flowers, veg. and of course stick-making.  QB's got a First (again) - no not getting smug about it!
There isn't a class for honey and other hive products yet but the way beekeeping is developing down this
valley I think we will soon be able to make a convincing case to the Show committee.
QB had NO HONEY left to sell at the Show this year. However B. BEE had some to spare - thank goodness. QB's  beeswax candles drew a lot of interest - but not many were sold.
Bellingham is promoting local crafts on Sat. 5th, 12th,and 19th at The Fountains (Cafe) so QB is hoping
to support Bellingham Parish Council by exhibiting the beeswax candles on 12th and 19th.
See you there? If this proves popular it could become a permanent exhibition - like The Chantry in Morpeth.
Can't finish without asking you all "Why didn't these tomatoes get First?"
Answers on a postcard please.  Second thoughts "Don't bother!"

PS. When feeding your bees with sugar syrup in a rapid feeder pour slowly to give them time to escape
from the rising level of syrup.
Also keep (for 5 years) a record of the Batch no. and Expiry date of the product.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Toad of Toad Hall or "Who's living in your nuc. box?"

Now's the time to begin planning for next year.
QB has emptied the Bee Bunker (where everything "Bee" related is stored) and doing an equipment count.
Anything perishable is being brought into the house. Eg. my working cloths are made of canvas which tends
to go mouldy when damp.
There's room for the 2 empty nucs. in the bunker but ....... look what I found when beginning to dismantle them.
So who's living in your  Hard to believe that a toad could squeeze through a bee-space.
I love toads.  Next to Honeybees toads and frogs are my favourite animals.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Feeding Time

Just back from the apiary where I have been giving each colony its first
feed of warm 2:1sugar syrup with 2.5cl of Hive Alive.
It's  important to feed late on after the bees have finished flying, and to feed all colonies at the same time.  These precautions are to reduce the risk of robbing.

How much syrup?  Well these rapid feeders hold 4 pts.
QB keeps on filling the feeders as long as the bees keep emptying them.
It's worth making a note of how often each colony is fed.  This gives me an idea of the strength of the colony and how much they have in store.
I also heft each hive regularly to get some idea of
                                                                                    the  quantity of stores 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Return from the heather

All taped up
Very heavy to lift
QB fastened the hive entrance (wing nut on heather floor) last night at dusk when the last bee came back.
It was quite cold so there weren't any stragglers. The hive was ready to be collected this morning.
The bees were not in danger of suffocation as this hive has mesh in the floor and top board.
The National hive was taped (Duck tape) to prevent any slipping of brood box or super. WBC "apiarists!" don't trust Nationals.  We got them away from the moors just before the threatened severe weather hit.
Today's temp. is 13C with a very strong westerley wind heralding heavy downpours.

Home at last and freedom for the bees. Next nice day QB will return them to their own waiting hive.
Too early to say if there is any of that delicious heather comb honey to spare but the hive was very, very
 heavy to lift.
Back to the candles and polish.  Even black Norther bees won't be working outside today!
QB Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Winter Prep. PS

The winter preparation is complete when:
- Varroa treatment is finished (Apiguard takes 4 weeks)
- An empty super box is placed on the floor beneath brood box.
- The eke is removed.
- Sugar syrup feeding is well underway.(Stop when the bees stop taking
  it down)
- Final insulation is in place on top of quilt.
- Mouseguards are fitted to entrance.
At this point my colonies have 1 empty super(to lift brood box and cluster)
1 brood box in which there may be unhatched brood which will hatch later.
1 super of stores above brood box / QX has been removed already.
1 thick layer of insulation- sacking, carpet underfelt (not rubberised).
(I do not overdo the insulation - bees are OK if cold but not if damp)
Mouseguards and minimum opening at entrance.
As I have WBC hives I think I can leave the solid wooden varroa tray in place.

Now .... on to candle and polish making using the wax which was collected in the Summer.
How to ? QB will blog instructions.
No you can't  hibernate just yet!
QB Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Final Inspection

Yesterday was too cold and wet to open the hives.
Today has been unexpectedly warm and sunny but Red hive was still not pleased
with the invasion by QB.
Anyway I managed 2 hives and hope to do 2 more tomorrow before fetching Yellow
hive back from the heather moors.

As this is the final inspection of this year I must make a good assessment of the brood nest
so I can plan for next season.
1) Brood nest : is Queen there? How many combs of brood/eggs/larvae?
    Remove Q.excluder.
    Place eke on top.  Place first Apiguard tray on top of brood frames.After 2 weeks
     remove tray and add a fresh one.
2)  Super : select super with most stores.(By now as I have removed any sealed honey)
      If there is a super of "wet comb" put clearer board below to remove in 2-3 days time.
      If only one super with stores, place feeder board on top without the Porter escapes.
      Place empty rapid feeder on top ready to add 2:1 sugar syrup.
      Don't fill yet. Wait until dusk and feed all colonies at the same time.
3)   Place plain papers below mesh floor in varroa tray ready to monitor drop
      after 2 weeks with first Apiguard treatment.
NB If there is definitely no queen in a colony I must decide which colony to combine it with,
       and do it before Apiguard or feeding.
Well that's about it I think.  Hope for decent weather tomorrow so I can finish inspecting
 the other 2 hives (Blue and miniblue)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


How about this idea for a new series  'specially  for honey bees on their own channel -
"Strictly Come Waggle Dancing"?

Tomorrow - QB starts to tuck them all up for the Winter.
Some tried and tested things to do.
Meanwhile mix that sugar syrup 2lbs white granulated sugar in 1 pint of hot water.
Keep stirring until dissolved and let cool.
It is important to feed all colonies at the same time; best done in the evening.
These precautions prevent the risk of robbing between colonies. A robbing frenzy
is not a pretty sight and (almost) impossible to stop.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Honey crop

Well this is what I was toiling over yesterday ("Centrifugal force is OK but...)

This honey is awaiting delivery to a local shop, all correctly labelled and with a lot no. too.
Much of this honey has been left in the combs because it was too thick to extract!
QB has kindly returned it to Red hive as "wet comb" to be licked clean and dry by
those workers who gave me such a bad time.  They will transfer it into their winter stores.
Notice the dark colour of the honey compared to the pale gold of the earlier crop at the back.
The dark honey poured thicker as if it contained ling.  The taste is much stronger - less delicate
than the lighter coloured. Still both delicious in their own distinctive way.
This year each colony has yielded on average 36kg (73lbs) of surplus honey.
QB makes sure each colony has a full super + whatever is stored in the brood nest.
To ensure there are enough stores to last an unusually long winter and late spring I am now
about to feed them 2:1 sugar syrup as well.  Yes "Belt & braces"!!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Centrifugal force is OK but.....

QB lifted 2 supers from Red hive last night.  The clearer  board had only been on for 24hrs, but
the bees had left both supers and were busy humming away in the brood nest and super above it.
Goodness knows what flowers they had visited but the honey in these 2 supers is very, very difficult
to spin out - despite the help of centrifugal force.  Remind me to save up some "honey money" to buy
an electric extractor!!  The honey could be Ling mixed in with something else. Anyway it is highly
So I'm taking a break for a last look around the garden - this is forecast to be the last hot sunny daybefore the cooler weather of Autumn sets in ....

and look what I found.  The honey bees have found this gorgeous, scented rose at last (I think it's called "Ballerina")

The Peacock butterflies are supping nectar from this Buddleia, unrollong
their long probosces, clear to see.

I counted at least 20 on the flowers and fluttering in the warm air.
A beautiful sight sihouetted against the blue of this late-summer sky.
What a lovely memory to brighten up the forthcoming dark winter days.
Anyway back to "spinning".  QB ZZZ

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

September - QUEEN CELLS?

QB has just retreated from Red hive with a mass of very cross bees intent on inflicting
some damage! Sat under the shady branches of a very large Fir tree for 10mins.
Red hive has a blue-marked queen (2010) and I was inspecting the brood box to decide
whether to leave her in charge over the winter or set her up in a Nuc. and combine the colony
with Miniblue.
I saw the blue-queen laying eggs. There was sealed brood on 5 frames but it was patchy.
I found 3 large, sealed queen cells hanging from the top bars of 2 frames.
By this time my normally gentle bees had worked themselves up into quite a lather!!
So I popped an empty super with drawn comb above the QX and put the very heavy supers
above a clearer board and left in a hurry.
You can't plan clearly with all that going on so now  I'm sitting in the cool of the house and doing a bit
of thinking.
What to do next?
Here, King Bee says leave them alone because "They know what they're doing".
All Comments will be gratefully received.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Bees still busy

Despite the obvious onset of autumn the bees, bumble and honey, are still finding plenty of flowers.
 Sunflower "Ruby Queen" - about 2m tall has multiple stems so needs good support.
Globe thistle is a bonus at this time of year.  This is one plant and,
until I arrived with my camera ,was buzzing with bees!
This plant can become rather invasive and needs splitting every
Autumn if you don't want it to romp all over everything else.

QB is off to make up 11 shallow, thin wax frames to take to Yellow hive on the heather.

QB buzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Decisions to be made

Now QB is planning what actions to take to prepare the colonies for the winter
and also for next year.
A quick look into each hive gives some 'food for thought'.  QB does a lot of thinking!
Next Sunday's full inspection will finalise plans, but at the moment:
Blue hive (white Q 2011) has super almost ready to take off.
Red hive (blue Q 2010) has the top super full and starting to cap.
Miniblue hive has a new Q (not marked yet), 4 combs of brood (various stages) and
eggs. They are putting winter stores in the super.
Silver hive has new Q (marked red) with 5 combs brood etc. They are licking honey
from comb which has been extracted. Filling other super with winter stores.
Yellow hive is still on the heather moors. They  have drawn all the frames of full sheet
and half sheet very thin foundation and have almost filled them with honey.

What to think about?
When to take last supers of honey.
Whether/or not to treat against varroa mites.
How much syrup to feed each colony (final stores should weigh at least 25kg)
Whether to combine any hive which may look weaker or has an ageing Q.
QB zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz thinking.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Flying Ants

There are still lots of flowers for the bees to gather nectar and pollen. These "China Girl" lillies and Agapanthus are great favourites with several species of bumblebee.  The Tagetes, Ladybird poppies and
Clematis are the focus for honeybees.

QB visited Yellow hive on the heather moors today and got quite a surprise!.
The heather is almost in full flower now and the colony is working very hard.
The capped brood is emerging and I can see the young bees on the letboard trying out their wings.
We seemed to time our arrival at the site with the biggest cloud of flying ants I have ever seen. They
were all over the car and all over the hive too.  The bees seemed to ignore them completely and got
on with their work.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

That sinking feeling

Off I went to the apiary light of heart and bright of spirit to take a super of capped
honey from Blue hive.  Now this is the colony that we artificially swarmed around 18th July.
The white queen (2011) settled in well and the workers were happily drawing the deep foundation
for her to lay her eggs in.I decided  to leave them all undisturbed for a few weeks. There were 2 supers
above the QX and last week I gave them some wet comb (10 combs from which the honey has been extracted).  Had a little peek in and saw the top super of honey was being capped.
Anyway, today I lifted the roof and took away the 'wet'combs which the bees had licked clean and dry.
Now for the golden prize - but "Oh, no!!" Instead of rows of white cappings I found sealed brood.
The first 2 I took out were drone brood so, ever the optimist, I told myself (and the bees) that we have
a laying worker whose ovaries have gone wonky.  "Oh Bother" I said words to that effect. So I took out the next comb which was full of beautiful, serried ranks of worker brood in perfect pattern.
And then, who did I see tootling happily around the comb but The White Queen!.
WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT (after momentarily panicking)?
Well here's what I did and we'll hope it works.
- Remove the drone comb and save it for the birds. Put 2 dry combs in the space.
-  Brush the Queen down into the brood box (now full of honey!)
- Replace the QX.
- Place the offending super on top (this brood will hatch out and join the workforce)
- Place the other super on top.
- Take away the dried "wet" comb.
- Close the hive up and say a little prayer.

Monday, 19 August 2013


Bees very grumpy today - could be the storm clouds or wind (climatic not digestive)
QB has found a crop which isn't dependent on pollinators - not directly at any rate.
This is a very fruitful year for field mushrooms.  QB simply can't get enough!!

Varroa- count results/action

QB uses WBC hives with mesh floors and a slide-out wooden tray beneath.
The dead mites (or living if bees have been grooming) drop through the mesh on to the white paper
which I place on the tray.
Since V. management is an essential part of helping the bees to stay healthy QB monitors the
number of mites which drop through at least 4X /year.
I have just carried out a count for every colony (currently 4). All had debris eg wax scales and pollen
"Whoops!! Dropped it!"
Red hive - 0 mites but a few badger hairs.
Silver hive - 1 mite with 2 fine hairs
Blue hive - 1 mite
Mini-blue - 0 but several badger hairs
This very low count pattern has been more or less the same throughout the season.
 QB likes to icing-sugar dust the bees on the surface of each comb - NOT on a breezy
day though. The idea is that as they lick each other any mites become dislodged and drop off.
Sorry this is all a bit boring!!
You can download all the details about V. from Defra's website (
ACTION : As the count is so low I could take no action. I might consider putting Apistan
above each broodnest (£4 cheaper from Paynes than Thornes for the 10 tray size - treats
5 colonies) in September as an extra insurance.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Time to count Varroa destructor

It's worth doing a final season count to decide if any treatment is needed before winter kicks in.
Having a last good wipe-out could save you the heartbreak of opening up the hive(s) next year
and finding a mass of little dead furry bodies.
QB put white paper in the trays below the mesh floors 10 days ago and will have a count-up
Watch this space for results and what to do next.
QB ZZZZZ  PS Sorry no pics. of mites.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Heather Honey Time

Just about the time when the Rosebay Willowherb comes into flower we take off the supers of honey -
making sure we leave plenty for each colony to feed them through the winter (approx. 40lb / hive).

Willowherb pollen is a lovely blue/grey colour. Other flowers are still productive.
However, the main summer nectarflow is over and, as the temperatures drop, the bees are preparing for winter.
Poppy pollen is a spectacular black!
 Just as the bee activity slows down
heather (ling) moors burst into that
amazing purple haze.
Heather honey is different - it is a gel
in the comb which makes it impossible
to extract in the normal way.

The taste and quality of heather honey is so memorable that QB is taking a colony to a nearby heather moor.
I have chosen Yellow colony as this has the youngest queen and the strongest brood nest.  You need a very
full and active colony as the bees need to build wax comb before they can store the heather nectar.
 These bees will need very careful treatment on their return home mid-Sept.
Yellow colony has been transferred to a National hive one week before going on
their hols. WBC is very difficult to transport - the separate parts tend to slide
about, upsetting the bees and the beekeeper.
When we arrived at our chosen spot (with prior permission from the farmer, of
course!) the special heather floor enabled me to unscrew a simple wing-nut which lowered the entrance flap.  The bees came out very warily in small numbers. They soon got their bearings and started work.
This colony now has a brood box
and one super with 11 frames of thin foundation.  There is no queen excluder and QB has prepared a second super to put on when the bees have almost filled this one.
I miss them being absent from the apiary and go to visit them every few days!
More news soon QB ZZZZ

Saturday, 3 August 2013


What I did with 5 queen cells.
Well firstly, I looked into all the colonies to see if any were strong enough to donate
some brood to a nucleus.  Yes! There was a lot of spare brood and workers. OK
Make a note of which hives would gift 2 or 3 combs.
Next , I took another look into the "5 queencell" hive (now named miniblue).
And then I decided to forget all my plans for them because I found 3 of the 5 had hatched
out queens and the workers had destroyed 2 of the 5.
The queens will sort each other out and I hope the strongest, blackest, best-matured one
will win.  Anyway whichever queen is still alive will be high in the cloudless blue sky having a grand
old time. After several trips out she will come home with her spermothecae full and then she'll get
down to the serious work of laying eggs (most diploid and a few haploid.) In full lay she can produce
up to 2,000 eggs/day.
So the stunning picture above shows a barren nuc.!!!
For "How to set up a nuc. when you DO HAVE spare Q.cells" see blog "The next day"

Friday, 2 August 2013

"Bring out the Drones" (apologies to Hilary Mantel)

Honeybees love Mesembryanthemums. They collect the reddish pollen in their pollen baskets on their back legs.

 In the middle of these pics. you will spot one or two drones.
Do not be alarmed if your female workers (diploid) start pushing out the
male drones (haploid).  This time of the year the drones which are still alive will be extra mouths to feed , contributing nothing to the colony's
efforts to store food for the winter months. The productive drones will not have made it back to the hive - plummeting to earth after mating with the virgin queen. A sad but true story. Drones never come out on top despite their efforts although they do contribute their genes to the colony.
PS If you're a drone reading this do not become dispirited. The time in between can be fun !

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This is why keeping bees is sooooo exciting !

 Aquilegia in my garden are a favourite with my honeybees - and the flowers last for weeks.
There were just seed pods when we came home but will make pretty Christmas decs. and the bees obviously did their job well.

I couldn't resist posting this pic. of  an equestrian show in Menorca.
Nothing to do with bees but remember that honeybees object to the
smell of horses and goats and can react quite violently.
When I got home and did the first inspection of the 4 hives this is what I found :
Silver hive - remember lost Q. and failed to raise a replacement on the
brood combs kindly donated by Blue Hive.  Then a  good friend gave me a sealed Q cell which I wrapped up to protect the developing larva and put in the middle of the brood nest. While I was away the virgin Q hatched out, mated and started laying!  I soon found her and marked her red - this year's colour.  This colony will now build up to strength ready to survive the winter but there will be no surplus honey from them.
Blue Hive:  Kind friends carried out an artificial swarm to prevent this colony from flying off into the great unknown!  On inspection I found the main Q cell sealed but also the little rascals had made 4 more Q cells.  You'll find out how I dealt with these tomorrow.
Goodnight - things to do QBZZZZZ

Monday, 29 July 2013

QB back from hols.!!

Sorry for "noblog" for so long. Guess where we went - for the hottest 2 weeks
in UK this decade.
Yes, somewhere in the Med.  Bumblebees still busy on Lantana camara. Somewhere on
this Lantana border at our favourite restaurant (C'an'Berto) were scores of Hummingbird moths.
Try to capture them on a pic.(impossible) or just sit and enjoy the spectacle.
Anyway we'd have more enjoyed the break if the summer in UK had been the usual
(wet/ cold/grey)  However on our return my first priority was to visit the 4 colonies of honeybees.
To find out what I found look for tomorrow's blog. All will be revealed. QB ZZZZZ

Friday, 12 July 2013

What with Wimbledon and hot weather .......

Honeysuckle defeats my bees - their tongues are too short!
When I go through the hives I make sure the queen isn't on the underside of the excluder.
I also scrape all bits of wax off the wires and tops of comb - and drop them in the solar
extractor to be melted and cleaned.

Monday, 24 June 2013

24th June: collect spare wax

Couldn't inspect on Sunday - Weather appalling and honeybees get a bit cross if it's thundery/wet/windy.
Worried about Blue - big colony, might swarm any day!  Anyway, nothing to worry about - no sign of swarm preps.(yet!)
Sorry it's blurred. White queen with attendant workers.

White (1211) Q. still at home laying well. Workers beginning to cap honey in top super.
There was a lot of  comb on the excluder.  It's worth scraping it off to give bees easy access to the honeycomb above.  Never throw it away - this could cause robbing/spread disease/encourage predators (eg.badgers).  Anyway it's worth saving to make candles or polish.  I drop spare wax into my solar extractor.
Solar wax extractor sited in full sun
Odd bits of wax will melt through mesh into tin on left