Entries from August 2019

Lughnasadh 2019: Meeting the neighbours
A seventeenth-century saying goes "a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly." Well, you could have fooled us. …
Thursday, 8th August 2019: Signs on the comb and leaving alone
We're now into August, and we're over most of the swarming season and into the time of year when most beekeepers begin to think about harvesting honey. …
Saturday, 10th August 2019: The birds and the bees
D and Dave have a cool camouflaged motion-activated trail camera that they use to capture photos and video of wildlife. They set the camera up for a week or two and if it sees any motion, it records images or video onto a micro SD card, using night vision if it's dark. …
Sunday, 11th August 2019: August's apiary meeting
Local beekeepers' association meetings can be an essential source of advice, being full of very experienced beekeepeers. I went to yesterday's apiary meeting of Burnham Beekeepers with a bunch of questions, mostly from Thursday's inspection. Firstly, some cool backstory about the second colony. …
Friday, 16th August 2019
Today's inspection was rained off, but we still went to take a look. Instead of opening up the hives, D and I had a look at the bottom boards while Dave cut back the long grass and brambles around the apiary, giving us much more room. …
Saturday, 17th August 2019: Stocking up for winter
Dave and I spent an hour inspecting this morning. It is idyllic — just us and the bees, the sun in the sky, the smoke wafting out of the smoker, with horses walking by, interrupted only by the occasional falconry drone. …
Tuesday, 20th August 2019: Asking to get stung
I was at the apiary today with a couple of hours without anything to do so I sharpened an old pair of shears and tidied up the grass, something we'd both been meaning to do for a little while. I didn't have my bee suit so I just kept back from the bees, and all went well. …
Friday, 23rd August 2019: The form of a swarm, or the supersedure procedure?
Every inspection seems to be a case of expecting one thing and getting something completely different. I usually spend a couple of minutes looking at my notes from the previous week to put the next inspection into context and something completely new jumps out at me and makes them irrelevant. …
Friday, 30th August 2019: An interim republic
The colony was fairly active today — lots of bees at the entrance and clusters of bees hanging off the frames and transferring food to each other. The inspection confirmed a lot of what we saw last week. …
Saturday, 31st August 2019: Honey extraction and honeydew
The local beekeepers' association runs a practical course, and today's session was on honey extraction. There was an extractor and strainer set up and we practiced uncapping frames of honey with the tool, and knives (heated and unheated). The smell and the general gooiness of the honey was great. …