I’m writing this in the evening, and the temperature is still around 30 Celsius (86 F). Luckily I’m in Manchester; my wife is in London where it’s 36 Celsius (97 F) and very humid. I don’t mind it. I can’t go away on holiday during the bee season, so it’s nice when the holiday weather comes here. However, I don’t have to spend all day in a bee suit like some poor souls. It gets very sweaty very quickly in these conditions.
Some like it hot
It’s looking like another good honey year for me. There was a cold spell in June when queens couldn’t mate, but nectar has been flowing in for a while now. The warm weather combined with rain and humidity has been good for beekeepers, at least in my area. People will say it’s all about global warming. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that bees like this weather. I’m happy enough at 30 C, but anything more starts to get a bit less comfortable. The blackberry and lime are finished now, and the bees are onto willowherb and balsam.
In line with my plan to sell nucleus colonies from next year, I have been expanding my empire. I counted them all up; I have thirteen full-sized colonies and thirteen nucleus colonies. Six of the nucs are on BS National frames because that’s what people want to buy in this country. Hopefully, most of them will survive the winter.
One thing that I have noticed about BS National frames is how tiny they are. My six-frame Langstroth nucs seem so much larger than the little five frame Nationals. My queens fill them up with eggs very quickly. They are cute, though.
Honey as Money
Honey is proving to be an excellent currency. When I get my hair cut, at Samli’s in Chorlton in case you’re interested, the owner always wants honey instead of cash. One of my apiaries is on a farm where they produce organic chicken eggs, so I often trade my honey for some eggs. I wonder how much honey would get me a small flatbed truck for moving hives? Based on how delicious proper honey is compared to the rubbish sold in supermarkets, and the massive efforts by both bees and beekeepers to produce the stuff, honey should be much more expensive than it is. The trouble is, there are a lot of beekeepers, and the weather has been favourable. Supply and demand, innit?
I recently somewhat foolishly agreed to become a moderator on the main UK beekeeping forum. It’s a handy place to get information about all things honey bee related, but moderation is occasionally required. Mark, who runs the forum, has done beekeepers an excellent service by keeping it going, along with Peter Little. It always amazes me how much time some people spend on there, and how many bee issues can cause disagreement. Humans can always find something to go to war about, the poor things. In general, though, it’s a valuable resource for UK beekeepers.
A Tricky Procedure
Alas, my eye operation on 3rd August is rapidly approaching. Hopefully, it will go well. My surgeon is one of the best. He did say that the procedure is “very tricky.” That can’t be a good thing, can it? Unfortunately one of my lens implants was defective, so it needs to be pulled out and replaced with one that works. The lenses were stored in a solution which has subsequently proven to cause mineralisation on, or in, the implant. The capsule that the implant sits in (inside my eye) has a big hole in it due to an earlier procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy. The surgeon has to cut into my eye and try to drag out the duff lens without ripping the capsule. I’m going to be unconscious, thankfully.
Next on the beekeeping agenda is harvesting honey and performing mite counts on my bees. That will determine which ones get treated. I use Apivar or Apiguard because there is still sealed brood in the hives. The alternative would be to use oxalic acid vape once every four days, maybe four times. I prefer to give them all a blast of oxalic acid in the winter when the queen has stopped laying eggs, and the mites have nowhere to hide.
I shall also be planning a week in Lanzarote in October so that Mrs W and myself can bask in sunshine and eat too much. It’s a walrus tradition.