We had a great speaker for our final winter season talk, just the way to round things off and fire us with enthusiasm for the season….not that we aren’t fired up already……in fact some of us have already had a peep in our hives.
Tony learned beekeeping from his father Alan, who I once had the pleasure to meet. Like father like son, there is always an amusing anecdote, and the advice of beekeeping is simple and from decades of experience and just watching and learning from what bees want to do.
For instance, most beekeepers are frantic to get the early rapeseed honey off the hive as it will crystallise.Tony doesn’t use a queen excluder, as the queen will always remain below the arc of honey they naturally build. As the queen is free to move up and down between combs to lay eggs the temperature remains high enough to keep the honey from hardening. Normal practice is to put a mesh, called a queen excluder, over the bottom (brood) box and restrict the queen to laying there. The honey then gets taken, by the bees, into the upper boxes (supers). It’s slightly cooler up there so the rapeseed honey tends to crystallise.
Most of the talk was about preparing bees to be ready to gather heather honey. It’s a risky business, and full of pitfalls for the unwary.
Avoid the pitfalls by buying his simple to follow, and very good value, book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Guide-Producing-Heather-Honey/dp/1908904615
The meeting saw a lot of new faces appearing, and I hope we gave them all a warm welcome. It’s lovely to see so many people being so keen to learn. So, welcome to all the new people ! Hope to see you at the apiary meetings.