Blog

The Weather is Jarring

After the brief and exciting sunny spell we’re back to grey skies and rain. I hope that many of you got some initial checks done, we have here and things are looking positive, though as expected we have had a few losses. Aptly, Sian and I attended a fascinating talk by Norman Carreck of Sussex University in regards to Colony Loss and the improvement of honeybee health at the Andover District Beekeepers Association. It was a bit of an information overload and very scientific but we had a good discussion about it on the drive back and gave us food for thought in regards to our own beekeeping practices.

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With the return of chilly weather we’ve retreated into winter mode and today we’re jarring some more softset honey. It wasn’t too long ago that we last jarred softset but we ran out of stock amazingly quickly! Luckily enough we had enough runny honey and cinnamon infused honey for pancake day yesterday. We had a few lovely customers come knocking on our door for a little jar to top their pancakes.

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Back at the yard Gabe has finished painting our langstroth nucs and is busily making frames to fill them all. Sian and Gabe are planning to paint our rather plain walls in our new unit, but they should probably get started before the season begins or it will end up on the backburner.

It is BeeTradeX this weekend and Rob and I are looking forward to seeing many of our customers there. We’ll have various beekeeping supplies for sale but mainly we are attending so that you can put a face the name of the person you speak to on the phone! So, if you are looking for us we will be in stall 25 next to Urban Hawks and Part Time Beekeeping Supplies.

Becky

Has the Season Started?

What glorious weather we have had over the past few days and I know that many of you have taken the opportunity to do those first checks on your bees.  If you have already checked them I hope the news is good and that your bees are looking well after winter. If you need any advice please don’t hesitate to ask us.

The blackthorn is well out in flower now and I saw my first dandelion yesterday but I didn’t have my phone to take a photo!!

Oh and I did wash those feeders – eventually!

Gabe has been welding a paint brush and roller around all last week getting another load of poly nucs ready for when we start doing our splits for nucs – these are all langstroth.

Sian and Rob were the lucky ones who got to out and play with some of our bees yesterday and today all three of them were out again at one of our bigger sites. So far the news is really good with minimal winter losses but they have still got lots of colonies to check.

The weather is going to change tomorrow, we are forecast rain and lower temperatures so there won’t be any opening of hives tomorrow.

Cabin Fever

Roll on the warmer weather.  A little but of sun sends us all doolally in the office and we are keen to get outside! There is still a big pile of feeders to wash that apparently is my job…  So, if the sun is still out tomorrow I will be able to cross that one off my to-do-list 🙂 (Sian is actually skeptical if I ever get around to doing them – watch this space….)

Sian is beavering away next to me getting organised for the queen rearing season. They have decided on a new coding system to keep things simple and clear.

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We have a few new sites to check out next week and then of course we have BeeTradex in a few weeks time where we hope to meet many of our customers.  We set up the day before and then meet up with other bee farmer members for a meal, a few drinks and lots of laughs.

Frosty Morning

Hi to all

Another frosty morning today, the weather does not seem to know what to do. Yesterday it was just over 5 degrees when I was out walking Roxy at 7am and today its back to 1 degree.  I have no idea how this will affect the bees, I am sure the queens are still laying and have been all through winter.

Yesterday our apprentice finally finished preparing all the new mating nucs – yahoo!  We transported them out to the lean-to store so they are all ready for when the start of the season comes. It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday and moving these out made us all excited with the prospect of the start of the season getting closer.  We even have the new sign up on the unit – it did look very big when we got the frame but now that its up it looks quite diddy.

We have been looking into these new beeswax wraps that seem to be the latest hot thing on the market.  My eldest son is studying environmental science and so plastics are a hot topic of conversation in our house! We brought a few to try out for ourselves, not totally convinced at first about wrapping our sandwiches in them as they do have an odd feel about them, but I have to be honest and say it worked really well. My concern was that the sandwich may smell of bees-wax or even pick up some of the flavour the idea of wax with cheese and pickle sandwiches or, as my son had, wax and ham was not too appealing… Though to our surprise the sandwiches were as fresh as ever and the flavours were not affected in any way.

Sian has been working on some new magazine adverts so look out for our new monthy offers of equipment, supplies, feed and all sorts.

Before I sign off, please do remember to check your bees.  The weather is warming up, the pussy willow has been out for a good few weeks now so there is plenty of pollen, my daffodils are all up and open, the morning frost has not been too kind to them and the snow drops are just coming out.  Even our tortoise (Berger – after the racing car driver not fast food!! lol) has woken up!!

Happy Valentines day, from Becky

 

 

 

Almost There!

Hi to all. A quick update as I’ve not had a chance to post anything for a while.

The warehouse move went ahead albeit very quickly; we had literally just 2 days to get out of our old unit before they demolished it!   The honey processing room is the last element to finish.  We just have the windows and the door to fit, a little bit of plumbing and then we are up and running.

Do keep an eye on your hives and nucs during this winter.  The high winds at this time of the year can catch you out.  We had 15 lids blown off a couple of weeks ago and one stack was also completely blown over.

Our full colonies and nucs are getting through their food like it’s going out of fashion at the moment. The mild days see the bees very active so be sure to keep an eye on them and heft them often to ensure they are heavy with food.  Add a pack of fondant over the central hole of the crown board if you think they are light so they have food there if they need it.

The apprentice is off skiing at the moment and I have my fingers crossed he comes home with no broken bones as we still have hundreds of frames to make and nuc boxes to prepare for 2019….  Have fun Gabe 🙂

We launched our new Cinnamon infused honey last month.  Sales are going really well and the feedback on the product is very good.  I have been having it on my toast or in my porridge most mornings for breakfast.  I slipped a jar into the Christmas present box that is heading up to Derby to my sisters as a special surprise for her. Coupled with the new product launch we have re-vamped all our labels and added bar-codes to them as well.  We are all really pleased with them.  It is surprising what a few tweaks to a design can do.  The new labels are much wider though and this is was making it quite tricky to put then on the jar straight without it taking ages – I had not taken that on board when I designed them!   I had no need to worry however as my son came the rescue and made us a label application machine!!  We saw one on our visit to Denmark with the Bee Farmers back in March and I took a photo as I thought it was a super idea.  My son based our machine on this and the outcome is great.  Even Rob will offer to do the labeling now.

Finally I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and good wishes for 2019 to everyone.  Hears hoping the new year will bring another lovely warm beekeeping season for us all with bumper crops of honey and healthy happy bees.