Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's a hive of activity

I'm very aware that it's been a while since I mentioned my apiary efforts and since I know the lovely Mark is looking for beekeeping tips to help him decide whether to become a honey producer in the Trullo Azzuro, it's probably time for an update.

The story so far, I've a lovely polycarbonate hive which currently has no bees in it, I also have a traditional wooden hive, with a queen, a number of useless drones (male) and around 50,000 hard-at-it workers. I've been migrating the colony onto a new set of frames, (wooden structures that the bees can build honeycomb on) that will fit into the new hive. So far they've done a great job and I was thinking of splitting the bees between the old and new hives but beekeeping chum Ian has suggested that (since it's looking like a great summer for bees) we postpone the split for a while, harvest some honey "on the comb" and enjoy the fruits of our (their) labours.

I check the hive weekly, looking for signs that the current queen is of a mood to bugger off with half of the workforce, which apparently happens quite often, fortunately they seem
happy in situ at the moment and I've made and installed a super, a rectangular box containing frames of very thin beeswax, this sits on top of the hive, and the bees have spent a hectic few weeks turning it into honeycomb and harvesting nectar and these frames are now pretty much full of honey.

We've gone for the simplest possible way of producing honey, simply cutting the whole thing, the honeycomb and all the honey straight out of the frame and into jars. last weekend saw Charlie and I, togged up in full protective gear, adding another twelve frames of challenge for the bees and then lumbering away giggling like white-clad thieving grizzly bears with the first full frame of honey. It looks right, it tastes like honey and it was very delicious on some greek yoghurt with fresh raspberries.

So, the beekeeping thing seems to be working, It's looking good so far but if there's one thing I've lear
nt about beekeeping it's that there are a heck of a lot of things to learn about beekeeping,

watch this space...

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