It’s been a while
Yes, it has been a long time since my last post, and much has happened. I have removed honey, treated for varroa, been inspected, and my last hive is about to have honey taken off. A basic rundown of how it has panned out so far:
- Apple hive (new from a swarm last spring) about 35Kg honey
- Olive hive (same age, but got varroa bad) about 12Kg honey
- Dad’s hive (established hive, swarmed twice last spring) 30Kg honey, with final extraction to come, hoping for another 25Kg.
If all goes well, my hives will have paid for themselves with this latest harvest. Currently I am $300 in the red, with about 40Kg of honey in buckets, mostly creamed. No more major purchases needed for a while, although I am sick of bees getting into my veil, so a new suit may be on the horizon. Currently my to do list is:
- Take off Dad’s honey – just waiting for a sunny afternoon, but not on a Monday or Thursday, due to lovely staff meetings.
- Extract Dad’s honey – probably after it has been taken off the hive. Makes sense really.
- Remove Bayverol mite strips from Olive (maybe tomorrow)
- Remove Bayverol strips from Apple (in about 5 weeks)
- Make some mouse guards for the hives – sick of vermin around the place
- Pack the bulk honey into pottles, keeping about 9kg for ourselves. Just to explain, a pottle is what we call the small plastic jars/containers. It is a neat word; pottle. Pottle, pottle, pottle. *grins*.
- Clean up all the extracting gear – the kids left my shed open whilst retrieving bikes and scooters, and now there are a large number of dead bees in the extractor, drowned in a puddle of honey. Not cool. The rest of the invaders were cleaned up by my shed-resident arachnid friends.
- Process the cappings – at the moment they have been stuffed into a plastic ice-cream container.
- Seal up the extracted boxes, to prevent wax moth getting in.
I had a visit from a beehive inspector, who is currently doing the rounds of all nearby hives. He was a funny fellow, wirey and fast, with about 50 years of beekeeping experience. After checking both my hives for all sorts of things (american foul brood (AFB), tracheal mites, and other stuff) he took a sample of bees – A small pottle of my poor bees donated to science, to be crushed up and analysed. I felt quite sad for them
Mr Inspector also left a stickyboard and some mite strips in for 24 hours, before retrieving them. I learned much from him, in a short time. I also received a letter from AsureQuality – the guys looking after the beekeeping industry – letting me know that a hive containing AFB had been robbed out less than 5 Km from my hive, eek. I will be keeping a close eye on mine. The only cure for a hive with AFB is to burn it, a very sad business indeed. If everyone plays their part, we can eradicate AFB from New Zealand.