Sunday, 26 October 2014

Last job - extra help for winter bees

Did you remember to alter the clocks/ watches/ mobile phones etc. etc. ?
So moving on ....................................................................................
An extra empty super will give the honeybees some cluster space.
It will also lift the wintering bees away from cold draughts, in-driving
rain and snow flurries.
Here's how I did it, with the help of 2 Bee Buddies.  You can do it on
your own but the disturbance to the colony is much greater. WBC hive
lifts and porch need removing first.
Gently lift brood box and top super of stores together. Separately if working alone - they're very heavy.

Place empty super on floor of hive.

Lower broodbox + top super onto empty super

WBC only : reassemble lifts

Put insulation/ mousetraps etc on top - then the roof.  
JOB DONE !!  Well not quite - I'm still feeding some of them and I must not forget to remove the Apistan.
Then that's it for this year.  Now back to making those candles for "The Hearth" Christmas open weekend (22-23 November). 
Next blog I'll show how I make the candles.  QBuZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Monday, 20 October 2014

All this wax.

QB saves every shred of wax in a bucket labelled - you've guessed it - "WAX".
Most goes into the solar wax extractor - which must now be emptied, cleaned and
stored away till 2015.  So what to do with the wax?
And there's all those cappings from the honey combs - washed and dried.

A large old pan is very useful.  Boil some water and drop all the wax, not very clean,
into the hot water. Keep stirring and the melted wax will float to the top.  Leave to cool.
I think it's a good idea to loosen the wax circle before it sets solid.  Pour off the water, now
cold and this is what you get.
The semi-circle on the left shows the clean wax.  The right shows the debris underneath which must be scraped off.
This lovely pale beeswax can now be used.
I make candles to use at home and also to sell.
This is our stand at the Village Show in September.
Candles, honey, furniture polish and, on the left, a BBKA Collection box in the shape of a WBC hive.
Aaaaaaah!. In aid of Honeybee health and Research.

I have to admit to buying the coloured wax. I haven't ventured into dying wax yet, although you can buy the dye. I don't scent the candles.  The natural smell of Summer cannot be beaten (in my view)
Most of my candles are made in silicon moulds. But
the coloured ones back left are rolled wax foundation.  Very quick to make and very pretty.
If you ask me questions (in the Comment box) I'll do my best to answer them.

My Apiary - Organised at last! (Well almost!)

After a quite unsatisfactory Summer here's where I'm up to.
Honey crop and feeding must be finished before Varroa mite treatment.

Honey - 180lbs from the 3 most productive hives. But then.... listen to this!
We went on holiday for 12 days and when we got home I found all the 'wet comb'
above the clearer board had been filled with lovely capped honey - at least another
60 lbs.  Extracting it from the comb was quite another story.  Eventually we gave it back
to the bees!  Must have been visiting the ling heather while we were away.

Ambrosia syrup was to be their treat for the winter (now on top of the stored honey)
I bought some from my local Association at a very good price.  The bees are taking it, but
very slowly. The long warm Autumn is giving them very little forage.
I hefted each hive. They must weigh a ton(ne)! Exaggerating of course but they certainly won't
starve. I'll keep hefting each colony over winter so I know how much stores they have left.

I have 5 strong hives full of honey and young bees ready for next year.
2x 2013 Queens (Red marked);  2x 2014 Queens (1 Green marked); 1x2012 Queen.

Now for the first Varroa treatment and that dreaded count.