29 September 2011

Clearing supers

In the past, prior to removing supers, I have used either Canadian or Porter bee escapes, with varying lack of success.

This year, in haste I simply shook and brushed as many bees off as possible, and sealed the remainder into the super. Not great.

Back home, I undid the supers to release the trapped bees... And lo and behold, they all, without exception, flew off (back to the hive?) leaving me with bee-free combs.


28 September 2011

Winter of our content

Both hives now tucked up for the winter. Apiguard is on, and each hive has a deep brood box with a full super above it (and one hive has another partially full super above that). All that remains is finishing the Apiguard treatment, and wrapping with chicken wire against woodpeckers.

26 September 2011

HAPPY coincidence?

Google picked up this bizarre juxtaposition of theatre listings, from http://www.flintshirechronicle.co.uk/entertainment-flintshire/2011/09/26/theatres-november-18-onwards-59067-29489103/
LIMELIGHT Productions present this moving play by Charlotte Jones. Felix Humble, bumbling Cambridge astrophysicist and cricket enthusiast, returns to the family home following the sudden death of his father. This touching comedy looks at broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of beekeeping. Call 01244 341296 or visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk.
JUST ONE DAY (The Lowry, Salford Quays, September 29-October 1)
HAPPY Collective Theatre present a play about sexual violence and the F-word. When Girl 29 is drug-raped, the friendship between Shona, Sheldon and Janet is stretched. This authentic and beautifully told account of female solidarity depicts women who refuse to be defined by victimhood and whose intelligence and wit are not decoration or bravado, but won through courage and love. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
Why would a group called 'HAPPY Collective Theatre' choose such a play? I shall stick with beekeeping. 

24 September 2011

Three full supers

Finally, finally, late in the season (see pic) and with the usual comedy of errors, I have taken the honey off the hives. Notes to self are:

- Paintbrush handles, toothbrushes and pruning saws make poor substitutes for a forgotten hive tool
- Bees can sting through just about anything if they are angry enough
- Driving home is a bad time to learn that there are bees in the car

Despite or because of my lack of intervention, yield this year is good: three full WBC supers from each hive.

Over the coming winter I am running one hive 'warm way,' the other 'cold way,' both with open mesh floors. In terms of honey yield, there is no difference.

18 September 2011

Killer bees

After avoiding it for aaaaages, I managed to get stung putting an empty super back in the shed.

When asked why he accepted the role in the truly awful "The Swarm," Michael Caine replied "Coz the wife wanted a new swimming pool." What was Katherine Ross' excuse? 

Honey Laundering

The Food Programme, on BBC Radio Four at 12:30 UK time:

The highest court in the EU has just issued a ruling concerning GM pollen and honey, which will have far-reaching implications both for the honey trade and beyond. As global demand grows year on year, could the EU be facing a honey shortage?

17 September 2011

Back ache

I can assure you it is a very poor idea to lift three full supers at one time. 

02 September 2011

You cannot be serious!

"Bees are the most fascinating creatures on the planet. They collect tree resins and gums to make propolis, which is the greatest antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal system in the world. They use it to plug every crack in the hive, but Florence Nightingale used it in the Crimea for its healing properties. I’ve been asked by a major airline to look into making a propolis mist to spray into the cabins. The beehive — a totally sterile environment — is nature’s pharmacy."

On what evidence is propolis the greatest antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal system on earth? Is the beehive is a totally sterile environment? (No nosema, acarine, IPV, AFB or EFB should just about do it. And no bees, either.)

The author runs a bee medical products web site, medibee.

01 September 2011

Attention Deficit Disorder

One pupil was a regular visitor to the school's behavioural support house because of his violent outbursts of kicking, punching and throwing furniture around. While he struggled with academic work, he discovered that he excelled at the the practical side of beekeeping: making the wooden frames that go into the hive, and dismantling the hive to access the honey. When the Guardian's bees expert, Alison Benjamin, visited the school, the pupil told her: "The bees made me peaceful and calm."