Sunday 27 May 2018

A gift from nature

I would not call myself a beekeeper but rather a smallholder who keeps bees. Bees are the most fascinating of creatures and are always a source of amazement the more you observe their behaviour. As someone who keeps bees the challenge is to understand and then take advantage of their patterns of behaviour to, firstly, help sustain a healthy and strong colony where you want them, i.e. in your hive or hives. Secondly, to harvest the most glorious of Nature’s gifts: honey. 

All that sounds simple enough but it does involve making regular decisions as to how to best manage a colony of bees and also get the timing right. Judgements have to be made as what to do to avoid swarming and risk losing a colony, or, when and how much honey to take during the summer. The more experience you accumulate the more informed your judgement and hopefully the more skilled at managing bees you will be. This certainly seems to be the case when mixing with long standing beekeepers, notwithstanding the different approaches they might individually favour. 

Anyway, today I extracted the first honey of the summer. Just about 20lbs from nine frames (I left the remaining two). ‘My’ bees are quite placid and seemed only mildly put out by me ransacking their hive to retrieve the frames from one of the two supers whilst at the same time taking the opportunity to inspect the rest of the hive. We are in swarming season but I didn’t see any evidence of any imminent desertion. I'll be extracting a second time later in the summer from this hive.

It takes a little effort to extract  but a lot of hard work
for the bees to produce. A wonder of nature. 

Extraction kit all ready 

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the bees work and the beekeepers knowledge. I always try to buy local honey now and it is delicious. Well done.