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Showing posts from November, 2017

What makes up the hive?

We have to get the new hive out of the box soon. It's been so cold here and yesterday we had intended to take it up to the apiary but it snowed.  Now, I happen to know that some of you reading this are in Alaska and are probably thinking 'Why would this stop you?' since really it was just English snow - maybe 6ins covering but as anyone living in England knows a little bit of snow is enough to bring most of the country to a standstill. 

In our defence the apiary is up a tiny track, behind a beautiful but very old - we are talking 16th century church and down a footpath between huge trees. It would have looked fantastic covered in snow but it would have been inaccessible.

So, back to whats in the box. We have a Thorne National Hive (feel free to advertise Thorne!) with DN4 frames. Oooh, that was a bit technical. Let's start with a rough idea of what we have. The diagram is a National hive, usually the most practical, cheaper and easiest hive, in my humble opinion. There…

Honey tasting

When it gets a bit colder and there is less to do in the hives bee keepers seem to gather inside more. We were invited to the annual honey tasting the other day. Everyone bring a jar with no labels for tasting. Its blind so nobody knows whose jar belongs to who. Honey is marked on taste, colour, appearance (might be crystallised for example) and aroma. There are two categories - set and runny.

You get a little stick - looked suspiciously like a Starbucks coffee stirrer to me - to dip into the jar and see what you think, then you mark the jars on a piece of paper and drop into a box. The winner is the jar with the overall highest score. Every year a supermarket brand is included to trick the bee keepers and see if they are true to pure non blended honey!!

 Honey set out for tasting

Blind labels

It was a great event. The honey was lovely though after a few jars you really appreciated the Wasabi nuts to refresh the palate, though it was easy to overdose on those too. 

Who won? Out of all…

We think we have Varroa....

So, last time I said we hadn't seen any Varroa on the bees. Mmmm, so I shouldn't have said that aloud because nearly the very next day there was one! I like to think it was just one, you know like there is only ever just the one rat in the garden or one lonely mouse in your kitchen?

But off we went into overdrive to eradicate (it will be too late) varroa in our hive. Taking some advice from a nice lady at Thornes (feel free to sponsor or advertise on my blog, Thornes!) whose job is to be a Bee Expert, we ordered Apistan to put into the hive.

You might remembered that we said we should have treated in August so Apistan is the treatment you can give a bit later in the year. It is a sheet of sticky plastic that hangs in between the frames giving off a pesticide. Sounds awful right? It is the least scary of the ones we researched, apart from treating with icing sugar but we were too late for that.

Icing sugar can be used for varroa because the bees are sprinkled with it and then t…