There is always something different going on with each colony and hive openings give our members a chance to get some “hands on” with the bees and talk through how we can deal with different situations.
So what’s the “buzz” down at the apiary this week…
The weekly hive openings have now finished for 2017. On behalf of the club, I would like to say a massive thank you to Dave Parker ,supported by Anne Marie, for taking on the role of apiary co-ordinator this year and doing a brilliant job.
Dave has written a short end of season report and thanks which I have added below. Please take the time to read it and we will see you down there again in Spring 2018.
“Throughout the year we have been fortunate again to have some of our members willing to lead the Hive Openings on Sundays. So thanks to Darren Helliwell, Karl Francis, Colin Lambert, Janet Murray, Barrie Scott, Vici Winstanley and John Zamorski who all volunteered for one or more sessions. Thanks also to Ken Isherwood who helped us on many occasions.
New and prospective beekeepers have all said they get great value from these sessions and we started, part way through the year, publishing the reports on what went on at each Hive Opening for all to see.
This year there have been some clashes with other events at Towneley causing cancellations, sometimes at short notice. We have learned from this so that we can provide earlier notice of potential problems – always check the website to find out the latest news.
Next year we are considering changing the frequency of the Hive Openings, possibly to fortnightly, to reduce the amount of disturbance to the bees, and to avoid clashes with other events. We are also considering providing greater focus on some beekeeping tasks such as swarm control and disease management, how to configure a hive, how to build frames, how to clean up hive parts, etc. Any suggestions as to what new beekeepers would get the greatest benefit from are welcome.
We hoped this year to be able to set up three different hive types – wood National, poly National and WBC but we only managed to use our poly hive late in the year and never got our WBC out of its box! We’ll still have this aim next year assuming we have the colonies to fill them.
Thanks are also due to the staff at Offshoots and Newground, especially Alyssa Craig, James Kenyon and Dan McDermott. As the club lost its three colonies over the winter and Offshoots had no beekeeper, we took on the stewardship of their remaining colonies, and we look forward to working with them next Spring when we hope we can create enough increase to go back to just managing our bees. We are allowed free use of the facilities at Offshoots, and this provides us with a large apiary, equipment storage space, tea and coffee making facilities and somewhere for our monthly meetings or just to retreat out of the rain.
The Hive Openings will resume in April 2018 but keep tuned into the The Buzz from the Apiary on our website to see how the bees are getting on during the Winter and how we are getting ready for another Spring in the Offshoots Apiary.”