Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Friday, 30 May 2014
|The 3 sample honey's I bought at Marsaxlokk|
|Inside one of the apiary caves - The bees would have been kept in these upturned jars.|
|More inside the cave.|
|The apiary site from outside.|
|Yet another inside the caves.|
|A different apiary site in same area.|
|Bees and a beetle on a flower.|
|I think this is my favorite!|
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
|Steph tending the smoker|
|Lots of full frames of honey|
|All capped and ready to go|
|Using a sharp knife I sliced the cappings off|
|My brand new extractor - the plastic protective layer has since been removed|
|More cappings sliced off|
|The extractor takes 4 frames at a time|
|Honey and bits of wax going into a 2 stage strainer|
|A part bucket of honey 2 days after extraction, it has set solid!|
|The full bucket of honey - again set solid. There's approximately 15 kg in there!|
|After vigorously beating and stirring the set part bucket of honey I was able to get it soft enough to put some in jars.|
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
The first chance I got to go to see the Bees I was especially lucky to have my wife with me to help as once I'd opened the first hive it was clear that we were going to be taking lots of honey from the hives. The first colony I checked had the most and I still didn't take it all. I think I took approximately 12 frames from the first hive. When I moved onto the second hive it was clear there wasn't as much honey to take but there was still about another 8 frames! Between me and Steph we got the job done quite fast; Steph operating the smoker and passing me equipment while I shook the Bees off the frames and took them to the side to be taken away later. I also did a quick inspection while in the hives and couldn't find any queen cells, although there was a huge amount of Bees therefore they could be near to swarming.
After we had finished in the hives we headed off home with 2 supers mostly full of honey. I was unable to lift them together and lifting them 1 at a time was a struggle. The next problem was extracting it. The same day I had a WPBKA committee meeting and there I discussed with another member the use of her extractor however while in the meeting I got a notification on my phone telling me I'd been the highest bidder in an auction for an extractor! The extractor arrived 2 days later and I cracked on with extracting the honey. I will put the extraction process in another post.
Monday, 5 May 2014
Over the last week I have been contacted twice by members of the public who believe they have Bees in their house or garden. The first one wasn't sure what kind of Bees they were but they had made a nest in the eaves of his new property and his builders wouldn't return until they had been removed. As this was fairly close to where my mother in law lives and my daughter was staying with her that night I informed the gent that I would pop round and have a look for myself. I took equipment in case they were honey bees and I could get a new colony from them but wasn't hopeful. It turned out that they were in fact Bumble Bees but the nest had already been damaged when the builders removed the roof tile. All that was left were a few sorry looking Bees in a small huddle of approximately 5-6 Bees. I did my best to remove them but they kept flying back. The only advice I could give to the guy was that as the main nest had been destroyed then the likelyhood was that the small amount of Bees would move on soon with them not having a home or a Queen. A shame really as I knew these few Bees were actually doomed.
The second contact I had was someone who believes he has Bumble Bees in his bird box. The advice I gave him was simply to leave them if they are causing no issue as they are very unlikely to sting anyone unless they are provoked but if they have to be removed I will contact my association and see if anyone has more experience with the matter. If they can be relocated safely with minimal harm to the colony that would be preferable.
It has been quite a learning curve being the secretary of my association but rewarding as the amount I am learning and the people I am getting to meet is great. I have been contacted by a school that want someone to come and give a talk on Bees and as no one from my association has got back to me yet I may have to do this myself. Having no experience at giving a talk of this nature I am a bit unnerved but I imagine I could wing it and still come off as knowing what I'm talking about!
Lastly, I will be heading on holiday to Malta soon and hope to visit an ancient Roman Apiary site they have there. I am quite looking forward to it and hope that some locals can point me in the direction of a Maltese Beekeeper to talk to. There has to be a post about that when I come back I reckon!