Spent a wonderful morning with Bob, along the path opposite my house, having made an approach to ask if he would mind me talking to him about keeping bees. He didn't mind 'at all' and after 3 hours of bee talk I am much better informed and raring to learn more. Bob has been keeping bees for 40 years and I am going to help him in the coming year to learn the ways of the beekeeper. We got on really well which is great as there is clearly a great deal to learn. What is particularly nice is that although I am of course interested in the production of honey I am perhaps more interested in the work life of the insects themselves and a very 'busy as a bee' life it is !
Here are the 20 or so of Bob's hives with local bees and a few hives with a different strain of hardy bees from Snowdonia in Wales and some French ones also.
Bees coming in after flying in the autumn sunshine collecting pollen from the late flowering plants and arriving at the hive entrance on the landing board.
An open hive. This small hive had contained a 'nuke' ( nucleus of a new colony ). Unfortunately the colony have died or moved on but the evidence of their initial work was there to see with the brood chamber frames all sealed into place with propolis.
Old frames full of 'dross' to be cleaned over the winter in preparation for setting up new brood chambers with larger frames and super's with smaller honey frames. Far too much to write down her but we talked about how to catch a swarm, what smoke does, the life of the bees, queens, how to look after the hives over the year, how colonies generate heat during winter and the importance of being calm and not panicking. More later as the seasons progress. I need to get a suit.