Started work today as the beekeeper for the University of Exeter's bee research facility at Tremough. A day a week of challenging bee colony management. Excited!
Cold, damp and windy - not a good recipe for beekeeping. One hive in particular demonstrated their displeasure - stings on each wrist, one shoulder and 3 in the same thumb. Point taken (literally!) - praying for an improvement in the weather soon! CSC = 11
Cold, wet and windy! Unbelievably I found a queen wasp sheltering under a roof at Rosevidney today. Middle of May and it's still 12 degrees - brrrrrrr! Bees were not happy and I took a couple of stings. Hopefully things will warm up soon. With increasing winds it seems likely that the Sycamore flow is going to be poor, due to flowers being blown off :(
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Dropped in to the Brew House in Porthleven this evening. I gave them a sample of honey and comb last week. It would seem that the samples went down well and they are to become the latest outlet of gold medal honey!
Thanks to Will, TJ and Origin Coffee. Try out their granola!
Today required an artificial swarm to be undertaken at Bosavern Farm. The strongest hive, on four boxes already, decided to start swarm preparations.
Nikki kindly assisted and together we searched for the queen. At times like this I bemoan my decision not to mark queens. The weather was poor, the time late in the afternoon, hence almost the whole colony was crawling around the hive. We do not have a queen excluder in use on this hive, so the queen could be anywhere!
On the 45th frame of 48 inspected, I heard a squeal. My eagled eyed assistant had spotted her majesty - yay!
We split the colony into a poly nuc, which will hopefully develop into a nice colony for Nikki to populate her first hive, a Smith hive, which she won in the recent WCBKA raffle. (thanks to Dave MacIntosh for the kind donation of the prize)
Latest stockists are Nauti but Ice, Porthleven. They've just expanded and now have, takeaway pizzas, beautiful ice cream, food and now honey! Look out for honey labelled "Nauti Honey" - it's the good stuff!
The pollen has been coming in by the leg load. Amazing colours! The early yellows and oranges have been enriched with bright purple, blues, greens and even bright red (from the sweet chestnut I believe). I'll try and get a few photos to help identification.
Having survived electrocution etc. I felt that things would be on the up. Seemingly not. For some reason, I failed to consider the consequences of having been suspended on barbed wire for a while. I happily donned my beesuit and approached the hives at Trelowarren. During the examination of the second hive I became aware of the fact that the bees on my veil were slightly closer to my face than would normally be expected. Indeed, they were on the inside of the veil! I managed to suspend operations and back away very SLOOWLY. I carefully evicted the intruders, save one that was crawling up my shoulder and took offence to the cramped conditions.
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Note to self.....always check bee suit for tears, especially after close contact with barbed wire!
Went to visit the bees on an organic farm near Crowlas yesterday. Supers were needed, but sadly I couldn't take the van to the hives, as a number of cows and calves are now resident in the field. As I parked the van, they gathered at the gate and I was convinced that a number were wearing cynical smiles.
To avoid being flattened, I took a detour around the next field and along the bottom of "cow field". All was well.....ducked under the electric fence and gingerly crept through the barbed wire and arrived at the bees. They're doing well - more supers required!
I ventured back along the same route, but was spotted by a wary cow, who started to amble across with a few of her friends. I collected two more supers and returned.
"Wary cow" had stopped at an interesting distance. I started forward, trying to look calm. Just past the halfway distance, wary cow took a few paces forward. I lengthened my stride, as I was fully committed. This cat and mouse game continued and my expectations of a charge increased. However, I reached the fence, in a state of mild panic. Keeping a very close eye on wary cow I started to make my way towards the bees, when boom!!!!
I suppose it felt like being an extra in Saving Private Ryan - the electric fence delivered a real punch, knocking me sideways into the barbed wire, where I hung for a little while, trying to get my bearings. A number of thoughts.....
"What was that!!??"......"I haven't been shot - must have been an electric fence"
"Is my heart ok?".........."It's still going, but that's not clever 6 months after a heart attack!"
"Where's the cow?"......"It's stood over there, laughing at you!"
So, on several fronts, the heart received an check up that was effective, but perhaps unwise!
2015CSC = 2 (rushing to pick up a frame after multiple traffic delays - on one road they've been resurfacing a bridge for 6 weeks now. They probably could have built a new one in the same time!)
How swiftly one can be brought back down to earth!
Following the extremely foolish addition of a cumulative sting count to the first post (and a slightly smug zero).....yep, an ouch moment this afternoon. Got clumsy this afternoon, in Heamoor, with the hive tool and caught a bee between it and my palm. My fault - sorry bee :( 2015CSC=1