Just me and the bees



Bees with colourful pollen
Bees with colourful pollen

Its Easter Sunday and the kids are off visiting their grandparents with their mum. I’ve been suffering with a particularly nasty cold for the last couple of weeks so dodged the visitations but woke up at 3am with a spikey anvil in my throat which necessitated an emergency lemsip in the depths of the night. We make our own using lemon, honey and whatever painkillers are in the cupboard so I had a bit of time while it was steeping and cooling to plan the day ahead. Not wanting to wake the other half I headed for one of the kids empty beds, which I do whenever I can because they’re so much comfier than our tortuous slab.

I woke up to a strangely quiet house and padded downstairs to an empty house, fixed myself  a cup of coffee then went to feed the sheep and the pigs. It’s now half past one and I’m back home enjoying another cup of Joe having ticked everything off the to do list.

My day has mainly been about bees. It’s springtime here in the UK and word on the beeline is that it’s been a hard winter for them after a particularly hard summer. I spoke to one beek yesterday who is still feeding bee cake so I took the opportunity to sort through my equipment and pop the hives open for a quick inspection.

The girls are the most tranquil I’ve ever known them, which is a good sign as it means the Queens are in and laying. They were so relaxed in fact that they just landed on my smoker and my gloves and watched what I was doing. These are the bees that when I first got them they managed to find their way into my suit and sting the beejesus out of me.

I had fed them a syrup solution over the winter which one hive devoured and the other didn’t touch. I realised why when I took the feeders off and noticed a crown board complete with bee porters stopping them getting at it but the funny thing is this hive has been the most active and has a nearly full super of honey already whereas the other one which had access to the syrup is down to about half strength and only has a couple of frames. It kind of backs up my intuition that we should stop trying to manage our bees and let them look after themselves.

I repaired a few frames that were missing foundation and stuck another super on each of them so that should be it for a while. Another job I did was putting out the bait hives. These are 5 frame nucs seeded with a mix of old drawn foundation (the older the better) and new foundation and drizzled with a swarm lure that is partly some old commercial stuff I had left over but partly lemongrass essential oil. It’s a bit early for swarms but the sooner you can get them up the less they’ll smell of you so the more likely the bees will like them. 5 frame nuclear swarm trap with lure

I have four of them set up, three here close to home where we have my own hives, a particularly large feral hive in my neighbours attic and a couple of other neighbours with hives too so fingers crossed we’ll get some this year.

I’ve set another one up at the Deli more of a talking point than anything else but you never know. If you see lots of bee activity around the front of the wired looking box about 9′ up in front of the Deli do let me know- it’s always interesting this bee malarkey.

Anyways it’s nearly 2pm now and I haven’t  spoken a word to anyone all day apart from the pigs, sheep, cows and bees. I could get used to this hermit gig.

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