Beekeepers and the Weather

Damp Squib

This summer has been a damp squib. Literally damp, but what on earth is a squib?! I always wondered about that expression. Apparently, a squib is a firework, so a damp squib would be a disappointment if you were expecting an impressive explosion.

Damp squib: “a situation or event which is much less impressive than expected.” As an inhabitant of the small wet islands known as the UK, my expectations for summer are not generally high. However, after nearly three weeks of rain every day, just at the time when my bees should be on the main nectar flow, I’ll admit to being a tad vexed.

All is not Lost

It is easy to become disheartened when one’s squib is damp. However, one positive thing about where I live is that we get flowers from March through to October most years. A month of cold and rain does not help, to be sure, but all is not lost. I still have hope. There is a chance of decent weather soon; a chance that my queens will mate and my supers will fill with honey.

On the heather in Scotland (Denrosa)
On the heather in Scotland (Denrosa)

I do not take my hives to the hills for a heather honey crop. Perhaps I will do one day, but for now, I’m just about coping with three apiaries and a small queen rearing operation. Moving hives around is a whole level up from the game I’m playing.

July 2020 Weather
July 2020 Weather – there is hope!

Abundant Flora

As I walked my beagle today through the Mersey Valley nature reserve near my home, I was struck by all of the plants in flower. There is plenty for honey bees; they just need the rain to stop. When it’s raining, they are indoors, munching away on their honey, and when it’s dry, they are out in force collecting nectar.

There is still plenty of clover about. Probably the most delicious honey I ever tasted was pure clover honey from Lorrain Muldoon in New Zealand. Most of the blackberries have finished, which is a shame because that usually forms a big part of my honey crop. Rosebay willowherb is in flower and will be for a few weeks yet. Himalayan balsam is just beginning.

Pics from today’s walk

I took some photos on my walk using my brand new iPhone 11 Pro. It is basically an incredible camera attached to a computer. It can make and receive calls too! Here are some of the pretty flowers I saw (liked by honey bees):

White Clover
White Clover
Rosebay Willowherb
Rosebay Willowherb
Thistle
Thistle

If a picture paints a thousand words then I’ve really excelled myself this week 🙂

What do you think?

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