Before we start our inspections at the Garden apiaries I try to take a little time to observe what is happening at the entrance and around the apiary. Checking that the bees are behaving normally and at this time of year not being pestered by wasps.
Wasps can be very bothersome to the bees, they are very persistent in their efforts to get into a hive and can clear out a colony if left unchallenged. The Bees have been having a difficult season trying to get enough stores to maintain colonies and now they need to bring in stores for the winter, they don’t need pesky wasps steeling their hard earned stores. A couple of the hives in the Main apiary seemed to have wasps entering without being challenged, so these needed to be checked and I decided to put on wasp entrances on all the hives, to help reduce the risk to the colonies.
One of the smaller colonies we united with a healthy colony. This will boost the number of bees in the colony and give reinforcements to help collect nectar and pollen to take the colony through the leaner months.
We have one colony that is re-queening and although some hives appear to have started to evict their drones, I am hopeful that there are still enough drones around to get this new queen mated sufficiently to be able to make a new colony. If she is unsuccessful I will unite them back to their original colony, so all will not be lost!
We are looking towards Honey extraction time. Supers were checked to see if there is any excess honey to take off and if it is ready to take. The Honey needs to be capped with wax and have reduced water content to enable it to be taken. This can be check by using a refractometer. A small Sample of the honey can be removed with a matchstick and placed onto the glass and a meter reading is easily seen. Historically the water content of the Garden Honey is around 17%, but honey can safely be taken if it is between 17 – 20%.
There are some potential supers to come off and we are hoping that they will be fully capped by next week…..
August 6, 2020