Guess What!

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Guess What!

Post by wayland on Sat May 26, 2018 9:56 pm



I am over the moon. Thanks Sean (Master Yoda). Lemon Grass. Who would have thought it. Very pleased. cheers cheers Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat May 26, 2018 11:11 pm

Well done. Now that is a valuable addition. A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay! Put a couple more bait hives up nearby - the stock that threw that swarm will likely throw another next week and you could get lucky again! Good luck with them!

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Sun May 27, 2018 6:43 pm

Will do once I receive more foundation. The wax moth got into my stores and made a right mess of everything. I had trouble getting Langstroth foundation in Ireland the last I tried.

Cheers.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Deryn on Mon May 28, 2018 8:50 pm

Congratulations, it paid off in the end.
Try Donegalbees.ie for the Langstroth

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Tue May 29, 2018 4:19 pm

Cheers for that. I will have a butchers.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Wed May 30, 2018 9:02 am

Having a nose around I got some Langstroth foundation but unfortunately not from Ireland. Ireland's mailing costs are a joke. 8 euro`s for a pack of super foundation compared to free delivery from the Bay.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:11 am

Update. After an initial problem with the bees getting into the roof space and building comb, they are now sorted with no harm done (I hope). They continue to work apace with polen being taken in so the Queen should be ok. I could not find her when I sorted out the comb in the roof. There does not seem to be much forage around here after the drought so I am giving them a bit of feed. Judging by the weight of the hive they dont really need it. I have set some wasp traps around although there aren't many around yet. Touch wood this will be the case in weeks to come. No honey harvest for me this year.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:46 pm

I'm surprised that, with a early swarm like that, you didn't get some bit of honey.  Around here it's been the best honey season for the past four years. I'm taking it off by the bucket. Not without paying for it, mind you -  I robbed a very strong hive the other day ( it had four supers on top of a double brood box and never swarmed, so you can imagine the population of bees in there!) and, after taking out twenty-four frames of honey with no trouble, they suddenly decided enough was enough. Within seconds I was black with bees from head to toe.  They got up my sleeves and down my collar and my! didn't they have fun!  I closed them up as fast as I could and legged it.  I don't know how many stings I got, but there were twelve from my left wrist to my elbow - it looked like a pincushion. The veil saved my head, but the rest of my anatomy shouldn't be suffering from arthritis any time soon!  Seriously, while I was closing up the hive and they were going to town on me, the thought crossed my mind that this could get serious. I don't know how many stings a man can absorb, but I reckon I pushed the limit this time.  That's the second bad stinging I got this summer.  Never mind, like I always say: if you keep cows you get kicked, if you keep bees you get stung.

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:09 pm

Sounds like you have had a bit of a lively time Sean. It also sounds like it has indeed been a great season for you. I am wondering if it is the heather that gave you such a good harvest. We have no heather here. A local beekeeper told me his season started great but the clover shriveled as did many other bee food plants. He still got a harvest but not as much as was expected. I could take some but I choose not to and leave it to the bees this year. I obviously want this colony to survive the winter so they can have all the stores they want. As to bee stings, I think that recently I have suffered six and my reaction to them was only slight. So it looks like my immunity is still active I am pleased to say. Your description Sean of being covered head to foot with Bees, that were finding ways into you. Then having to do a runner!!!. An experienced Beekeeper!!. Must have been quite an episode mate. Never had to do that myself. A calm mind would have said this is the last thing one should do. A lesson here methinks.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:37 pm

Believe me Wayland, when theyve found a way inside your garments and are hurrying in in their dozens intent on mayhem, the only thing to do is leg it! As to the heather, that hasn't started yet. I'm hoping for another crop from that!

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:56 am

Sean Ph'lib wrote:Believe me Wayland, when theyve found a way inside your garments and are hurrying in in their dozens intent on mayhem, the only thing to do is leg it! As to the heather, that hasn't started yet.  I'm hoping for another crop from that!

Yes Sean. This is what I mean when I wrote "A lesson here". As with many things there is a time when all the book learning/ experience goes out the window. I would indeed want to get the fxxx out of there. I mentioned the heather as our`s, such as it was has gone over. Have you an idea as to what your Bees have been feeding on? I was hoping the Bramble would produce alot of nectar., but like everything else it suffered. I will not keep banging on about the lack of rain here. Its been a great summer, and a kind of sadness is creeping in that it is coming to an end. Onward and upward.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:48 am

Yep, the main flow here was bramble - this place being composed of small fields, we have miles and miles of boundary ditches which are all clothed with the stuff - the bees were in it from dawn till dark. Our heather is on the mountains and mostly ling and is only now coming into blossom. I'm in a rush to get all the blossom honey off the hives so as to make room for the heather. If things go according to plan, I'll be taking most of that off too and giving them empty supers which they'll fill with ivy. I find they winter very well with a brood chamber filled with heather honey topped by a full super of ivy. No need for sugar here!

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:06 pm

Well its good to here that you are having a very good harvest. There is plenty of Ivy round about here. We didn't get much of Ivy in the flat Fens so It will be interesting to see whats whats with it.
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:32 pm

The thing about ivy honey: firstly, it smells absolutely disgusting - rank, like an old puck goat! When the bees are gathering it, you can smell it without even opening the hives. Secondly, it granulates very quickly - like oilseed rape, so you have to melt it to process it. Thirdly, the rank smell and taste moderates with time, so that by the Spring it's not so bad. Fourthly, it has great medicinal qualities - probably the best honey of all for coughs. Lastly, some people are mad for it and, because of its scarcity and the trouble involved in processing it properly ( you have to melt it, but at a very low temperature so as not to melt the wax and injure the honey and then seed it with a very fine granulated honey so it doesn't re-granulate with a coarse crystal size) it sells at a premium price. What I do is: leave it on the hives till around April, when the Willow and Dandelion nectar is coming in, and then take off what the bees haven't used during the winter. But I keep a few supers in reserve, just in case an odd hive gets a bit light. Usually there's a pretty good early flow here from blackthorn, willow, dandelion and gorse so that the stocks are well able to do without their old ivy honey. Of course, the overriding principle is to never let the bees get hungry - and the only suitable food for bees is: honey!

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:01 am

Yes Sean. All points noted. Many years ago Our local association would hold its annual show. There was an old fella who always won the dark honey class. He had a jar of black honey which he would hold a flame behind it to show it was clear. He said he thought it was ivy, by what you say it was not. I thought perhaps honey dew. Any ideas?
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Re: Guess What!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:33 am

I've never seen black honey. The darkest I ever had was pure Bell Heather, which was a dark purple colour. I brought some of that to honey shows (I was into that kind of stuff in those days) and it always won the dark honey class and best honey in show a couple of times. It was fabulous honey - I kept a few jars for years and it never granulated. For some reason, I've never got it since. I'm guessing that what happened that year was that the Ling didn't yield and the Bell Heather did. Normally, when the Ling yields, the bees forsake all other flowers and I got no Ling honey that year. I remember well - and this was over thirty years ago - we had very strange conditions which persisted for the last two weeks of August: heavy, dense fog every morning which lasted till noon and not a bee flew. Then the fog would lift and warm sunshine for the rest of the day and the bees worked like crazy from then till dark. I'm always hoping for a repeat of those conditions, but I suppose it was a one-off.

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Re: Guess What!

Post by wayland on Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:32 am

Interesting. This black honey would not have been Bell Heather as the Fens is very much an alkaline region. No heather grows there. We had another chap who had a contract at Sandringham. He was paid to put his hives on HRH`s lavender fields, which is many acres. He had to process the honey but was not allowed to keep any himself. He said it was the best honey. Despite alot of cajoling he would not give us a taste. Must have been a lucrative contract indeed. Every summer we had some Scots people staying in our village. They would bring down heather honey and exchange it for my Rape honey. They loved it and said they can only get the normal heather in scotland. What an exchange!
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