Spring is my favourite season, and spring has sprung at last. Critters are waking up and making baby critters; it’s getting warmer, and if bees can be happy, mine are. They are flying like crazy, like champagne bursting from a bottle as the cork pops. As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, bringing fear and suffering, it’s good to know that all is not lost. Life is bursting forth all around us even as, for some unfortunates, it sadly ebbs away.
Gas Mask for Mothers Day
On Sunday, which was Mothers Day in England, I decided to visit my mum despite warnings of the risks of spreading the virus. She desperately needed some groceries. On the way to her place, I dropped in on my main apiary to pick up my gas mask. I have a proper one which covers my whole face and filters out particles and gases. It’s a bit over the top, but I tend to use it when vaping my bees with oxalic acid. I doubt that it is virus-proof, but it’s better than those N95 masks that many choose to wear. I also wore nitrile gloves. Any conversation was impossible, but I did what was needed and got out of there quickly. Now we are in lockdown, so no more visits are possible for the foreseeable future. Better safe than sorry.
Jobs completed so far this season
- I fed my nucs some fondant a couple of weeks ago as they were light
- changed all floors
- removed boxes from hives that don’t need them (double broods)
- moved nucs to a new apiary
- made a load of hive stands from 2″ x 2″ timber
- made stands for mating nucs by sawing up old bookcases
- painted some poly mini plus hives
- varnished some pine supers
The pine supers are modified medium Langstroth boxes containing plastic frames for the mini plus hives. Two mini plus frames are locked together to make a medium super frame. The idea is to get them drawn out by putting the super over a big colony and feeding it. Then they can be split back down to small frames and put in the mini plus hives ready for bees and a queen cell. That’s the theory; I have doubts, but I’m giving it a go. I also have a top feeder for my mini plus hives which I will use in conjunction with the more traditional wood/wax foundation frames.
I saw this beekeeper year planner graphic in BeeCraft magazine and thought it was rather smart.
Next Jobs on my To-Do list
- make up more frames, especially mini plus
- move more nucs to the new apiary and get it all fenced off
- check colonies in this warm weather
- mark any queens that need it (green dot for 2019 queens)
- consider clipping queens…I haven’t decided yet, probably will
- as bee numbers grow, add more boxes
I have also been trying to set up an e-commerce site to sell my book. I’ll have it ready soon and will use it for selling both the paperback and e-book. It will be available on Amazon and other places too, as is more or less obligatory these days. Given the costs and work involved, I’m amazed that book publishers and book shops are still in business. It is unlikely that many of them are profitable from what I’ve seen.
Blubbing like a Sissy
One ray of sunshine for those confined to their homes is the launch of Disney+. They couldn’t have timed it better, what with a captive audience of kids staying at home, and parents trying to get some work done. My family are big on Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and so on. I prefer the bees! We watched something called Coco today, and although it’s for kids it was superbly executed (Pixar don’t mess around), and I found myself blubbing like a sissy as the movie ended. I do have a disturbing tendency to cry when watching TV. American Idol always gets me, despite being more cheesy than a cave full of ageing Cheddar.
Boris and Donald
What a crazy year it’s been so far. Boris was doing his “Get Brexit Done” thing but who even thinks about that now? Donald was boasting about the booming stock market on the NYSE and coasting towards a second term as President; he’s not so hopeful now. My investment portfolio was somewhat defensive, or perhaps I should say balanced, but I still took a big hit as every asset class plunged. My daughter’s wedding is looking to be in peril.
On balance, though, I have a loving family and little to complain about. What’s more, I’m a beekeeper; the most fabulous job/pastime in the world!