Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Nothing Sweeter Than Honey

I'd like to introduce O X & I.

A friend sent me an ad for beehives for sale and it seemed like a good deal, so I bought three. Six boxes high (two brood, two full of honey for winter food for the bees, and two for expansion in spring). We picked them up from over at Shearwater (near Devonport) and they were stopped up nice and tight for transport thankfully !

Arriving after dark we positioned them quietly on brick plinths and were just getting the third one level when we heard an agitated buzzing coming from the first hive ... one of the kittens had pulled on the cloth that was stopping the entrance and had managed to open one end ! Luckily a quick restuffing served to head off disaster and the three hives were unstopped just on dawn so that they didn't come out in the dark and get lost.

They are in the greenhouse, where they will be protected from the wind and kept a bit warmer in winter. I've removed some panels from the back section of the greenhouse so they can come and go freely. The markings on the front (O, X & I) are a nod to the theory that they might need a little extra help at first to pick which hive is theirs as they return.

Over winter I need to get a bee suit, smoker and hive tool for my own use. I also need to set up a couple of extra boxes and frames so that there are spare parts for any breakages.

Hopefully the bees will enjoy the orchard, vege garden, flower garden and 1,000 melaleuca and blackwood trees that have just been planted (well, a few years from now when they flower anyway) and help make sure everything is pollinated well. And a little honey to share with us would be great too !

On the windy days we've had lately they have stayed inside and all is silent. As soon as there is still warm weather they are out and about, exploring and cleaning. It's reassuring to see movement after days of silent hives.

This is Roger Wilson and I checking the on the bees, the hives seem to be healthy and active. They also seem to be relatively calm as the kittens were chasing bees down at floor level and we were opening boxes up top and no-one got cranky and no-one got stung.

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