Bad Beekeeping

The good beekeper keeps a close eye on his or her bees, carefully checks the weight of the hive during the winter to make sure they aren't starving, and pays particular attention during May for 'tis the season to be swarming. It will come as no great surprise to my readers that I don't fit this category: my bees mostly look after themseleves at the bottom of the garden with minimal attention from me. But come the end of the Rape season, which is just about now, the honey has to be taken off before it sets solid in the hives. So I borrowed my jacket back off Nikola and set to removing the supers. I only seem to have two on at the moment, probably a mistake because they were both packed full. I imagine my bees have probably swarmed at some point.

However, the point of this was the picture of a frame, above, which from its geometry you will immeadiately see is a super frame, and yet it has brood in it. Oops. Although the "arc" pattern is rather good. This means, I can only suppose, that the naughty queen has wriggled through the queen excluder and ventured upwards where she should not be(e). About three frames were heavily brooded - one even had a queen cell on it. The photo shows a few cells sticking out - those are drone (male) cells and somewhat bigger. The others are workers. The sides have capped honey, which is what should be everywhere. The problem with the brood is that it makes the frames hard to spin - no one wants icky white bee larvae in their honey, especially since they are rather fragile and tend to explode into goo.

Um, did I mention that my honey is for sale, just £3 / lb if you're in the Coton area. [Update: I should point out that the honey I sell really doesn't have any larvae in it, since frames like tha above simply can't be spun -W]


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It is early autumn, so an old man's thoughts turn to his bees. Sadly neglected again, I wonder what they are up to? Have they produced a good honey harvest or - more likely given the rather unfortunate summer here - have they just survived? Happily I have some Apistan all saved up, and its,…
At this time of the year, as I cycle past the rape fields (this isn't a reference to some Balkan horror, just the plant), I take note of the dying of the yellow, for it signifies that the spring recolte is once again due. I measure my life by the passing of such seasons: the winter league; tideway…
Every autumn I think - too late - that its about time I looked at my bees, took off some honey, and put on the Apistan strips. Ideally this would be done in late August, I think, because the Apistan needs to come off 6 weeks later, and once you get much into October the weather gets unfavourable to…
I speak personally, I should add, not of the world in general. I can't find my spring post - maybe I didn't do one - but I recall only taking about 4-5 frames off, which is pretty poor by spring standards - I normally expect a couple of supers. Two days ago (I mention this because I put in the…

I didn't know you were an apiculturist!

[Ha ha, no, I'm a beekeeper :-)

This might be a good place to link to, though it doesn't look like I am maintaining it :-( -W]

William, how are you dealing with Varroa these days? Is it under control (as the healthy brood and good crop seems to suggest)? What's your secret? Oxalic acid? Queen trapping? screens? Drone brood destruction? All these things?

Just wondering 'cos I fear I've failed with mine :(

[Sorry about yours. It doesn't seem to be too bad around here. I just do whatever I'm told, which last year was a treatment with some stuff whose name I've fvorgotten but can as a jell in little pans, you had to peel the lids off, and do the treatment twice. Oh yes: apiguard: see -W]

By Peter Hearnden (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink