gaggle_beeks

A Nuc of (Petersfield Wednesday 25th November 2015)

I have always considered to be like farming, only in miniature, and my livestock herds can number over 55000, per hive, in the summer, in winter numbers are still impressive, numbering tens of thousands.

Thought provoking! Although to be clear, this comparison is not intended to insult farmers, they are some of the hardest working people on the planet.

Like farming, beekeeping can be a solitary activity, fortunately, like our wonderful , we tend to be social creatures, thank goodness for beekeeping associations.
Last night our association gathering reminded me why these gatherings were so entertaining, educational and social.

My local beekeeper association is the Petersfield Beekeepers association, based in Hampshire England.
Last night was the last gathering of the year, so I was really looking forward to it.

The agenda was free flowing, auntie Pippa ensured there were ground rules, I did suggest it could be likened to speed dating, which did elicit ripples of laughter.
The request was well received and ensured everyone met everyone else, throughout the evening.

Highlight of the evening?
Auntie Pippa’s lychee honey, it was absolute nectar….as in light, syrupy and gorgeous.

There was cake.
As there should be at such events, also home made biscuits, the name I cannot recall, but would describe them as light melting macaroon biscuits, yummy, especially with copious tee and coffee.

Back to the beekeeping!
Picked up a few great tips including, clip you queens. No that was not a euphemism!
The practice of clipping queen bees is to ensure you do not lose half of your colonies workforce, by having the old queen fly away.

Honeybee colonies divide and as an overarching part of their reproductive cycle, this occurs when the colony reaches, or nears, hive capacity and needs a larger hive.
The older queen departs, leaving the new queen, however once the departed swarm of bees discover the queen is missing, (As she cannot fly with them) the swarm generally returns to the colony.

The best time to clip queens is during the second season, so around March the following year.

There were plenty of other tips, opinions and did they vary, we love a little light debate.
Do I check for drop (again not a euphemism) then treat, or treat as part of ongoing program, is it even necessary, what if varroa count is low?

The banter was not restricted to beekeeping, there is always time to put the world to rights, but that is another story.

If you want to know more about beekeeping in general, pop along to your local beekeepers association, we do tend to be friendly sorts and welcome anyone thinking of becoming a beekeeper.

Looking forward to the next meeting.

Don’t forget between Christmas and new year treat the bees as well, check they have stores, feed them, and do remember to trickle your oxalic (Enough of the dirty talk).

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Have a great Christmas and new year break

Beekeeper Tom

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