Bee Watch – Honey and Wax – End of July


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We have meandered through bee related events since Easter, tracking the seasonal forage and varied diet of honey bees and which forage is shared with bumble bees, other solitary bees, hover flies and other pollinators; all making the continuous presence of diverse seasonal food sources (forage) very important for bees, insects, plants and birds which in turn forage on both the insects and the pollinated crops, berries, fruit resulting from insect pollination.

Ynys Mon Wild Flowers

I look a bit closer this month as garden Hebe flowers and attracts many insect species.

My queen rearing exercise appears moderately successful, it should enable me to increase my colonies by two or three and that’s all I need. 

 

I took a good honey harvest from the large colony in my garden. I was a bit reluctant to inspect the colony because it is big and full of bees and we have neighbours but one evening I lifted the lid, the bees were calm and I was amazed to see how much honey they had stored, I took 2 and a half supers (shallow frame boxes each with 13 frames) full, had a job pushing the wheelbarrow must be 60 or 70 pounds of freshly capped summer honey, this should be relatively runny and flower flavoured, we will spin it into jars this week. Taking the honey from the supers, the boxes above the brood area, frees space for bees and reduces the swarming instinct.

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It is from this large colony in my garden that I raised the queens I need for increase, so I hope they inherit the productive tendency of this queen. While the hive was opened I moved some frames with brood and stores from below to above the queen excluder and replaced these shallow frames with foundation so the bees have something to do in making wax and the queen has more room to lay, although, just now hive populations are peaking and the queen will draw back to allow the maximum population (50,000 bees) to occur July / August then decline gradually so the foraging bees bring in honey and pollen stores for the smaller (10,000) over- winter colony. 

I took some unusual photos of bees making wax; they exude small wax platelets from glands on the abdomen. 

We had a few days in Anglesey, mixed weather but so much space and natural forage; I attach a few photos, including Llanddwyn Island and South Stack light. 

What we hope now is that good (dry, warm, calm) weather and the current honey flow continues, I can then take another harvest around the end of August. Bees will forage on through into November Ivy subject to weather, the foraging workers live just 6 weeks, the first 3 they undertake instinctive tasks inside the hive then for the last 3 weeks they fly to gather pollen and nectar, dying eventually away from the hive.

Conwy Beekeepers Honey Fair 13 September, great opportunity to by local honey direct from the local beekeepers.

Barry Bees

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