Our first honey

Bee happy!

Mich with honey28th July 2016:   A sight to bring a smile on anybody’s face.
So exciting. It is really our own, very first harvest of honey, in our first year of hard work in the apiary.
Full, sweetly fragrant frames, ready for extraction.
I am now busy working out an enticing and unique design for labels on our jars. Any suggestions anybody?

Collecting swarm at 10 Acres on 21st July 2016


all illustrations: credit Spike Gerrell’s Land of Spike

A call was received in the late afternoon that a swarm had appeared in a tree.
We, the Swarmbusters Susanne, Brian, Peter and Michele) immediately sprang into action. Ready in seconds, all tooled up we drove there, and inspected the location.








OMG! …that was a huge swarm ensconced in a mat of branches and sharp needles in a Cedar tree, 9 feet or so above ground. Puzzling how best to approach the problem, and after a short discussion – too short for some of us –  i.e. “Fools rushing where angels dare to tread” , we set up the ladder. By now the excitement and the adrenaline were running high.

d876e9_d48e98e467dc4879bd581da1b7319c10.gif_srz_116_229_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_gif_srzPicture the scene: One of us balanced on the ladder, two more holding the heavy swarm bait box  at arms length below the swarm and the last one observing and directing.

d876e9_1f5b6e5e3eee4411a0d4463f534df901A mighty shake of the tangle of branches dislodged a good many, some still clinging to the mat of branches, but still too many flying around angrily.
But, was the QUEEN in the box?
We carefully upturned the box on the ground, leaving a small gap for the rest of the bees to crawl in…
Lo! And Behold! four hours later they were all in the bait box!  We slid the lid underneath  carrying the lot to the car, then we drove home. It  was getting dark.


Meanwhile, back at the farm, Peter had set up the hive to receive them. And ready with a torch.
d876e9_ad001ba9e7344f9c89deb5be9103bfe4When we were ready to dump the bees in the brood box, we found them all over the sides of the bait box, not as a cluster, which made it more problematic as to how to get them all in. Brian administered some very hard knock onto the box, then with a light brushing most started to fall in. Some still clung to the bait box.
Hoping that Madam was unharmed and in the brood box, we set the bait box with its opening towards the hive entrance on my best ivory coloured table cloth.
We closed the hive and went away.
Next morning they were All in!

Bee Scarecrow

This is what Michele presented as an award winning scarecrow at Trunch’s Scarecrow Festival last Sunday. Isn’t she a beauty?

bee scarecrow

Cooling beehive

Today we noticed an unusual bee behaviour. It looked like this: –

Fanning party

The bees were stationary, all aligned with their heads pointing to the entrance. On very close observation we could see that they were all fanning with their wings. This was very necessary as the temperature at the hive was like this: –


29.6 degrees celsius. It was probably more at midday. Other bees were coming and going as normal.





We put up a shade: –


Within half an hour they were all behaving normally.
Only hive 2 was involved; maybe because the others had more tree shade.
Michele put her hand into the varroa board slot and said it was very hot in there.
The next two days will also be hot, so tonight we will remove the entrance blocking board.

By the way all four feeders were empty when we checked them yesterday. We bought more sugar and will feed them tonight. It looks like we must feed all the hives, so we need to buy two more feeders and will get them tomorrow.

We live and learn!