2011-01-16 Hand-feeding the Buxton Bees

 Adrian had moved a couple of the hives up to the top paddock on the farm in Buxton.
Monster views, morning sun from dawn onwards, in the shade by early afternoon.

The right hand double box (in the photo above) is the 'Utter Hive', the other is the 'Other Hive',
from the bottom of the duck run in Mount Evelyn.
The Acheron Valley in the background
 That's James and Adrian, firing up the smoker.
 The top box of the Utter Hive had a bit of burr comb, no hive mats in either of these.
The propolis is bright red in this one, and very sticky.
I found out that propolis is not a type of wax (which is secreted by the worker bees from glands on their bodies, which they then make cells out of), but actually resin that they have collected from trees, so the colour comes from tree sap. So that's another thing to add to the long list of things bees collect.
 A fair bit of honey in the top box, but not enough to bother extracting just yet....
One of the side frames had undrawn foundation on it,
but they were mostly full of uncapped honey.
 James checking out the bottom box, cool as a cuke.
Loads of good brood, lots of pollen.
Small areas of chalk brood, not enough to worry about for the moment...?

 We found a couple of supersedure cells, and this little swarm cell in the bottom box.
 The 'Other Hive' had its lid lightly welded down with burr comb.
We collected it slowly, piece by piece, and got it into a bag.
We tasted it later, after squeezing the honey out by hand.
Very tangy, sharp, which makes sense as the pepperminrts up there had just been flowering.
 James was sampling a piece when this girl came along, to get back what was hers.
 More brood. We put a second box on the 'Other Hive' before we left, putting in a queen excluder and swapping a couple of the frames from the bottom box into the middle of the new top box.

Fill it up, girls.

2011-01-15 PAYDAY !!!

 So, after over a year of work, stings, expense, .....
it was payday.
Metropolis was full up, two boxes worth,  and the landlord wants his slice.

 Jazmina helped me this time.
 That's one of the frames out of the top box, chock full.
 Brushing the bees off.
We then had to hustle them into a bee-proof tub, to take to the spinning shed.

 Uncapping in the shed.
That's a steam powered knife, but we kept it hot by dipping in hot water then wiping it dry.
It got pretty warm in there, we had to keep the doors shut to keep bees out.
 uncapped vs. capped.
 Spinning. About 4 minutes per side seemed to do it, two at a time.
 Every 6 frames or so, we emptied the spinner.
 A two-stage sieve....
 ... dripping into the bucket..
 A sample for the D.P.I, so they can tell me if I have any diseases in there.

About 16 litres all up.
The flavour of every flower within a mile of our house in Northcote.

2010-11-22 Apiary is not all fun and games

I went out into the back yard the other day to check the bees,
they had been hanging out all over the front porch.

Warm day, barefoot through the grass.....ouch, stung.

Not as bad as when Adrians head swelled up, or the time I had to rush him to hospital,
but this beekeeping gig does have its less pleasant moments....

The first thing they tell you is: You will get stung.

2011-01-08 Baghdad - population explosion!

These Baghdadites had been left to their own devices for 6 weeks or so,
last time we looked they had only been hived for 2 weeks,
and at that stage they were filling up 3 of the frames, the rest untouched.

 Quite a lot of bees hanging out the front,
a lot of traffic, what had they been up to?
 No bees on the sunflowers.

 That's Edis, the landlord, coming for his rent.

We don't have a hive mat in this one,
and they had built a lot of burr comb full of nectar under the lid.

 The whole box is very full, time to add a queen excluder and another box on top,
so they can start paying proper rent, not just left-over nectar.
Lots of brood, grubs, eggs, and lots of honey.
No sign of disease, whew.
They say that you can get diseased bees from wild swarms.
Not sure, all ours are from wild swarms, and no sign of anything bad yet.

We saw the queen briefly, but lost track of her when I tried to get a photo.

2010-12-29 Metropolis - chock full!

 Time to check Metropolis again, a couple of weeks since the last check, and the top 2 boxes were already filling up with honey last time...

Cracking the top box.

 Albina, Jazmina's mum was over, and had been thinking of getting her own hives going,
so I thought I'd get her in amongst the bees...
 The hive mat was welded down.
 The top box is chock full of capped honey, nearly all completely capped.
Albina lends a hand. 
 Beautiful golden glow...
 Albina, enjoying it. No fear, her mum used to keep bees when she was younger.

There was loads of  burr comb between the two honey boxes,
we scraped it all up into a container for tasting later.

This liquid gold we got out of here is still nectar, really,
off uncapped cells that they constructed in a freestyle manner
(without applying for the relevant planning permits).
It tastes nice, a bit smokey
 (from the smoke that we had to use to get the bees out of the way),
and quite runny. Hot day, too.
 After we took off the burr comb, we went through the middle box,
lots of capped honey in there, too, but maybe not enough to harvest just yet.

a couple of weeks ago this box still had a lot of brood in it, not any more,
they had all hatched, and their cells used for storing nectar.

In the brood chamber, very full, no sign of disease,
lots of eggs and grubs , but we did not see the queen.

Overall, we really need to harvest some honey to make room,
putting another box on top would make it too hard to manage at that height....

Need to borrow a spinner from somewhere...