A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Apiary visit 16/09/2011

Last week I put treatment in my hive to combat the rising level of varroa mites. As it's a 4 week course of treatment yesterday was the time to put in the second stage. During the week I have been reading about the treatment I am using, which is APILIFE VAR, and have read a few shock stories about it. The problems people have reported include Queens dying, Bees absconding and very aggressive behavior. Due to this I have been very worried through the week and dreading what I was going to see when I got to the apiary. Also there has been some awful weather this last week including very strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Luckily when I went to the allotment yesterday the weather was perfect; the sun was shining, the sky was clear and there was nothing more than a gentle breeze. The allotment had lots of people taking advantage of the good weather including the guy in the allotment next to the one I keep the Bees. After saying hello to the guy I suited up and got into the apiary. This time I didn't even light the smoker as I was only planning on being in the hive a short time. In the apiary I was really pleased to see Bees coming and going, with quite a few with full pollen baskets. 

Upon opening the hive the first place I looked was in the supers; I was amazed to see how much honey the Bees have collected seeing as though I collected the liquid gold a couple of weeks ago. As mentioned in an earlier post all honey collected will be left for the Bees to help them get through the winter. When checking through the super frames I was expecting to see eggs laid by the Queen, due to there being nothing to stop the Queen getting into the supers, but there weren't any. After the quick look through the super I moved to the brood chamber. The treatment bars I'd put in last week were still present in the back corners but the pieces added to the front corners of the hive had vanished, I assume the Bees dragged them out. At this stage the Bees seemed to be getting slightly agitated so I hurried in getting the old treatment out and the new one in. After that I quickly put the hive back together and exited the apiary.

When I was clear of the apiary I got talking to the guy in the next allotment. He told me his son has recently got some Bees in the York area. His son's Bees are apparently a lot more aggressive than my Bees and has been advised he shouldn't have been sold them in the first place as a beginner. His Bees generally follow him all the way back to his house, which is at least 60 foot away by what I was described; my Bees follow me about 10 foot then go back to the hive. The place I was talking to the guy was only 15 foot from my hive and I had already taken my suit off while talking to him and had no Bees bothering me. I just hope they stay that way as if they get aggressive I would have no option but to remove them from the allotment and at the moment have no where else to put them. 

I will also mention while I am writing this post that Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers held an event at Newmillerdam last weekend which me, Steph and the baby went to on the Sunday. It was held in the small boat house and had a few tables with information, example hive, an observation hive and a table for honey sampling. As it was such a small area we only stopped a short amount of time but managed to taste some honey that was flavoured with stem ginger. Both me and Steph agreed this honey was delicious and would at some point attempt to make some. There was the guy that ran the training course there but I didn't manage to talk to him as it was so cramped in there and he was talking to someone who was interested in becoming a Beekeeper.