Sprung has Springed

This last week has treated us to a little sunshine and all of a sudden the world is coming back to life.  I was extremely lucky to have booked the time off of work and feel very smug as a result. The week was spent with family, on the beach, visiting seal colonies nearby, fossil hunting, and celebrating my birthday.

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My daughter also finally got to do her “zookeeper for a day” Christmas present and even got to hand feed owlets, wallabies, and meerkats.

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As I have said all three of my colonies made it though winter and on brief inspection have a small amount of brood. The top bar hive is by far the strongest and even has some winter stores left over at the tops of a few combs.

Since I felt my sap rising too I jumped on the impulse and got my bait hives out ready. This is in spite of fact that I never see a swarm before June :s To be fair this is mostly because I just concentrate of my village area. This is to try and catch any of my swarms along with any local survivor stock. Here is recent post on how. I have also baited up all my empty hives in the apiary as…. well… why not! I want to let my colonies swarm with some degree of regularity as I believe it to be an important process both for the bees and in varroa control. I will attempt to minimize swarming through nest expansion but if I miss the boat and the urge takes them who am I to know better. I may make splits using the swarmed colony if it is large enough but otherwise I will not intervene unless there is queenlessness.  I am lucky that I live sufficiently rural that I can get away with this malarkey, but I put bait hives at different distances in my village to minimize the bees upsetting anyone. It does annoy me a little that a hive swarming is treated as such a terrible thing in beekeeping now when I instinctively feel as though it should be celebrated.

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Warré baited up for swarms. Just two of the four boxes.

As well as bait hives of my own I have lent our local vicar two warré bait hives. Joe is very excited to be giving natural beekeeping a try and currently supports nine churches. That is nine churchyards that may well be hearing the buzzing of bees in the not too distant future.
I will publish a short video in the not too distant future of how I set one up.

 

In other news over winter I have contributed to the YBKA newsletter (March edition). This is the monthly publication of

the Yorkshire Beekeeping Association and had a new editor who wanted to capture some different beekeeping practices.

I will also be hosting my association in my apiary for a Top bar hive training session on 21st May, so fingers crossed I have something to show them.

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to Sprung has Springed

  1. BeeNuts says:

    Completely with you on the comment that we should celebrate swarming. Swarming means a healthy strong colony. The only time I get annoyed (with myself) is if I’ve failed to manage the situation in a timely fashion. Good luck with the bait hives.

    • deweysanchez says:

      absolutely, you just want to get it right.
      The last few years I have practically been able to set my watch (or calendar) by the swarming of two of my colonies.

  2. Julie says:

    Happy birthday! Looks like you had a great week off!

    I completely agree with you about the swarming, and I wish I lived in an area that would allow me to let my bees swarm. Long ago, people used to party in the streets when there was a swarm. Nowadays, they close the road and call the fire department. (sigh)

    BTW, I tried to access your links, but neither of them opened for me. Might want to doublecheck them. Congrats on the article, though!

    • deweysanchez says:

      Hi Julie, Thanks very much. I have had a little fiddle with the links and hopefully they work now.

      • Julie says:

        Loved your article. You are such an engaging writer that it makes me a little sad you don’t do it full-time. 🙂 You made some great points, too, namely, that science and “natural” beekeeping don’t have to be at odds with each other and that honey should not be the only measure of success.

        BTW, I also chose TBHs for practical rather than “hippie” reasons (though I do like tofu and sandals quite a lot).

      • deweysanchez says:

        Thanks Julie as usual you are more than reasonably kind about my posts. I could perhaps be persuaded on the tofu but not the sandals….. never than sandals!

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