Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apiary, it's not all glamorous white suits and prodigious amounts of honey you know, it's also the occasional searing pain in the ear.

For the benefit of Mark who must find it frustrating sitting next to his Puglian trulli watching little Italian bees raiding his copiuous Italian lavender and then buzzing off to make Italian lavender honey, (for someone else) here we are with the latest Bees from the Barn update.

It's been an interesting summer for the (mostly) ladies of the hive thus far, those of you who've been paying attention will both remember that at the start of the season I split my existing colony in two thus creating a pair of smaller and (because I made the split too early according to my beekeeping mentor Ian) weaker colonies. Fortunately the fine weather has meant that my poor timing was not been fatal to my little chums. Ian did an inspection with me a month or so ago and identified a couple of things I should do including treating both hives for Varroa (Varroa is the parasite often held responsible for the devastation of the bee population in recent years). He also suggested limiting the amount of space in both hives to make it easier for the bees to keep warm and build up population. That all worked well and both hives now have healthy queens, loads of workers and ChaCha and I added supers to the hives last weekend.

Supers are the additional layers we add to the hive in the hope that the bees will fill them with honeycomb and (hopefully) much more honey than they need for the winter. That's the honey we greedy humans take for our own culinary purposes having calculated how much the bees need and extracting the surplus. So far they've built good stores in their bit of the hive and I'm hoping that they'll be thinking of my needs now and making the most of this warm weather and what seems to be a good summer for blossom.

ChaCha captured some video and photos of the latest inspection in between squealing and swatting the air ineffectually and there's a little video if you click on the photo.


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