What beekeeping related activities did you do recently?

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Machiavelli

Full Member
May 21, 2009
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Good Ole' Lancashire
Sorry to take the thread a bit off tangent, but considering how we wiped out entire species here in the past, and the (admittedly expensive and labour intensive) recent efforts succeeded in removing hedgehogs from the islands where they weren't native, one wonders if it might not be beyond us to have a concerted effort to remove the Asian hornets now. I suspect if we don't we'll be like the Americas and the African honeybee.

M

This is a good point. DEFRA have a taskforce which is aiming to keep the Asian Hornet from taking hold in the UK, but as always this can only really be achieved if everyone plays their part. All beekeepers (both hobbyists and commercial) should be monitoring for Asian Hornet activity, so we make sure it doesn't get a foothold in an area, before quickly expanding.
 

Machiavelli

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May 21, 2009
85
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Good Ole' Lancashire
I'm caught between brood and a half and double brood at the moment and would prefer a single box.

However, I'm curious how a bee farmer works. Using the same strain of bees a non-commercial keeper may have them on a double brood and keep the queen until they superceed but does a commercial keeper try and keep them on a single brood and re-queen more often?

Another very quick point about running single brood boxes is the importance of equalising hives. In Spring I'm constantly taking full frames of brood out of really busy colonies, adding them to weaker colonies or nucleus colonies. This stops bigger colonies becoming congested, helps limit swarming and helps me keep all the colonies at a similar stage, so I'm ready for the various nectar flows, pollination contacts, etc.
 

oldtimer

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Sep 27, 2005
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Oxfordshire and Pyrenees-Orientales, France
Had a socially distanced drink with our bee-keeping neighbours and was shown process of getting honey from combs into jars. Asked questions but had no understanding of the answers and agreed that beekeepers have a language of their own. I already knew that from trying to follow this thread! Came away with a jar of honey and an increased respect for bees and their keepers.
 
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SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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Ceredigion
Had a socially distanced drink with our bee-keeping neighbours and was shown process of getting honey from combs into jars. Asked questions but had no understanding of the answers and agreed that beekeepers have a language of their own. I already knew that from trying to follow this thread! Came away with a jar of honey and an increased respect for bees and their keepers.
You can fling it out by spinning it out (in an extractor) or drain it out by crushing and straining in some way. That's about it, basically. ;D
 

oldtimer

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Sep 27, 2005
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Oxfordshire and Pyrenees-Orientales, France
You can fling it out by spinning it out (in an extractor) or drain it out by crushing and straining in some way. That's about it, basically. ;D
That was the only bit I did understand.I did get the chance to re-tell the story I mentioned in post 10 of this thread.
I didn't follow much of how you get from bee to honey. Perhaps I should have paid more attention when being told about the birds and the bees as a child.
 

SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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Ceredigion
That was the only bit I did understand.I did get the chance to re-tell the story I mentioned in post 10 of this thread.
I didn't follow much of how you get from bee to honey. Perhaps I should have paid more attention when being told about the birds and the bees as a child.
You mean as in bees collect nectar from flowers, regurgitate it into wax comb cells for storage. Then they waft it to remove water so it becomes more concentrated and cap it with some wax to keep it safe long term. We come along and steal the combs, scrape off the lids, extract the honey and feed the bees with sugar to replace what we took? :D
 

SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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Ceredigion
Mine ate most of their honey during the rubbish weather we've had, but we got some for ourselves. Now about to treat and then settle them in for winter.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Honey is a byproduct of the far more important task of crop pollination for our benefit.

Wild bees and bumble bees are not such massive colonies of commercial value.
However, honey bees are an environmental threat for the extinction of wild bees
as there's so little left of pollen and nectar.

I express great bias towards the bumble bees after watching them for decades do such a wonderful job of pollinating my grape vines. Honey bees are too lazy to pollinate grapes.
Hard to imagine no grapes.
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
I express great bias towards the bumble bees after watching them for decades do such a wonderful job of pollinating my grape vines. Honey bees are too lazy to pollinate grapes.

When I kept bees I had the equivalent of 'teenage' bees; they got up late and were back in bed early. The Bumble bees would be out foraging hours before my honey bees and stay out hours later and, when you think of their relative mass to warm up, that's quite a commitment. Respect!
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,252
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Devon
Aren't most grapes self fertile, i.e. wind pollinated? It should also be noted many different pollinators are adapted to different plants, many bees (honey, bumble, solitary etc) have different tongue lengths so often don't visit the same plants and thus don't directly compete.

It was one of our concerns before keeping honey bees but we tend to notice different bees to different flowers.
 
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Robson Valley

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I do not believe that grapes are wind pollinated. The flower clusters are very attractive to my local bumble bees. They often build several nests underneath my garden shed. OK by me. Never once in 20 years have I ever seen a honey bee in the grapes vines.

If it's very wet and very cold at flowering time here (the usual), the bumble bees seem to get a little frantic and miss flowers as they work around and around and around. I see a lot of unfilled bunches of grapes as they begin to fill out.
I have old vines to shade the west wall of my house so the bees are working
maybe 12" from the kitchen windows. Quite entertaining to watch.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
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283
Devon
It was more of a rhetorical question, if you look into commercial grape cultivars most are self fertile. This suggests to me even if your grapes need fertilising they probably don't produce enough nectar to attrach honey bees. Plants also produce nectar at different times, so if it's not sunny they may not produce much. This may also explain why your bumbles moss flowers.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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I cultivate Vitis riparia which is North America's grape. The variety, Valiant, has great frosthardiness
to -40C unlike the much weaker V. vinifera.
Probably the greatest utility is as disease resistant root stock for V. vinifera varieties.
It's enjoyed some popularity here since I started growing in 2001.
Since then, I have propagated and sold no more that 400 clones.
It is most certainly something that the bumble bees work for.

Best yield ever (thank you, BB) was in 2013 with 65 lbs per vine. The average would be in the order of half that.
 

tomtom

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Dec 9, 2003
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Sunny South Devon
I tend to feed syrup over winter if needs be but I try and keep a load of honey filled brood frames to reduce the amount of sugar I feed them. I have left a super on before without the queen excluder to prevent isolation starvation but found the brood and a half a pain to manage the following spring. I then had a brain wave and ended up shaking all the bees down then put a queen excluder on (couldn't find the queen quickly). Once the brood emerged they back filled the super with honey which was fine. I keep thinking I might ditch the supers and just use brood boxes for the whole operation with out queen excluders, my thoughts behind this is that they would use as much space as they needed for brood then fill the rest with honey. Then when the time comes I can take the top honey boxes and leave the bees with what I expect would be 2 brood boxes with the top being mainly honey. The reason I haven't tried this yet it that it would cost a a fair bit of cash to set up, brood boxes of honey are heavy to handle and it would be a pain to manage the brood over two boxes.
Have a look at the Rose Hive Method. :thumbsup:

As a non-bee keeper I think on the face of it you might be interested, and I would be interested to know what you think because I am planning to have a first attempt next year.

TT
 

Bazzworx

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Mar 5, 2009
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South Glos
Yes I am familiar with the Rose hive. I've actually had to give up beekeeping as I got stung on the lip and went into anaphylactic shock. My body has become over sensitised to bee stings. Its a shame really because I had enjoyed the hobby for over 20 years.
 

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