What can I say about our trip to Denmark – eye opening. If we thought we have forage problems here in the UK it is nothing compared to what they face in Denmark. They don’t have any winter OSR now and with only a spring crop they are in trouble if it fails. They do have clover and of course there is the Heather, but as with our heather its does not always yield.
We met up with two bee farmers who talked about their set up and what problems they face today, mainly this is lack of forage but also the varroa mite is big issue. They did have a big problem with EFB but they have reduced this by changing the brood foundation every year. They were both big outfits, one has 2000 colonies and the other has 600 plus 300 with young queens; oh and they call them “families” which I think is lovely. I did say I was going to start referring to my bees as families rather than colonies but I am not sure that would really work over here.
We also visited one of the queen breeders over there, Keld Branstrup. That was really interesting and such a nice man, He talked about this days working with Brother Adam which was amusing. It turns out that Brother Adam was not easy to work with….
Kelds set up is amazing and so clean! He gave us the run of the place so were able to nose about to our hearts content. Although they change their brood wax every season they do re-use their frames. Unlike us they use wired frames and not wired foundation so it works really well. The frames are bundled up as shown in the photos below and put into big wax melters. The wax is processed and cleaned and reused to make new foundation. The frames are washed in caustic soda and rinsed in water heated to 90 degrees and then and they are ready to be used again. Easy! Keld has a big industrial dish washer that he uses to rinse his frames in, see middle top photo below.
I must thank my fellow bee farmers for arranging my ride in a very noisy Unimog – it made my day and I am sure you were all jealous 🙂
The hotel we stayed in was lovely and the food was amazing. The packed lunches were big enough to share and like no packed lunch I had ever had before – banquet picnic would be a better description! Well done BFA a really enjoyable trip, looking forward to the next one…