Sunday, 13 August 2017


Yes, it's that time of year - and this year it was a big job.  Fortunately, Bath mayor Ian and local food production guru Stew were on hand on Friday to help with the honey.  After I'd spent the morning cleaning every surface, we set up our production line in the afternoon - Stew was on comb uncapping, Ian on extractor spinning, while I got to fill the jars.  It was hard work, but great fun, and fantastic to see the result.  Huge thanks to Stew and Ian for all their hard work!

So, to the all-important business of yield - here's this year's numbers, in 340g (12 oz) jars:

Laura:  A decent size batch of 29 jars.

Maria: A stunning 51 jars!

... making a record haul of 80 jars (plus a ¾ jar that supplied my breakfast this morning!)  So I'm happy to declare a final yield of just over 60½ lbs of honey - a personal best!

Even better - I'm delighted that Widcombe Deli is again selling Beechen Bees honey this year.  I took the first dozen down yesterday, and Nicky had sold the first jar before I'd even left the shop!  Big thanks to Nicky for tweeting the new stock - follow the link for a photo of the honey in-store.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Naming The Queens

Regular readers will know that I name my queen bees.  Normally, they are given their names on the day that I mark them, which is usually a couple of weeks after they have started laying.

Unfortunately, the season was super-busy until the middle of July, and then it rained (and barely stopped) - so I haven't had a chance to mark the queens yet.  Nevertheless, I can't put off naming them any longer - marking will just have to wait for another week or two.

So, onto the business in hand.  All three of my queens hatched this year, so they all need names.  There is a distinctly academic feel to this year's names, as I present to you a triumvirate of renaissance ladies:

Hive #1:  Laura

Hive #2:  Maria

The Nuc:  Elena

But who are they?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

It's Almost Harvest...

Finally last Saturday was dry enough to open the hives, and my main interest was honey.  How much?  Is it ready to harvest?

Good news!  I have three full supers (i.e. 3 x 10 frames) of honey, all capped by the bees and ready to extract.  Actually, there is a fourth super - on hive #1 - which is also full, but the honey isn't capped yet.  This means the bees haven't quite evaporated off all the water, though the honey is quite firm in the cells, so it won't be long.

I left the fourth super on the hive, to give the bees a chance to finish it off properly.  But the other three have now been take off, and brought back to my house ready for extraction.  Here's a couple of action shots of me moving the supers:

I haven't extracted the honey yet - though I do have all my jars and labels ready to go.  Extraction is scheduled for Friday, and I have a feeling this could be my best crop ever...!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Rain Stopped Play

Regular readers will have noticed that there haven't been any updates for the last three weeks.  This is not a mistake, neither is it (surprisingly) down to laziness on my part.  Simply put, it has been raining in Bath.

Really, since the middle of July we have barely had a dry day here - and certainly the weekends have been too wet to open the hives.  So, I have had to leave the bees to it.

At least the rain has been providing plenty of sustenance for the flowers, and there are lots in bloom at the moment.  Here's a picture from a meadow near Coombe Down which I took last weekend:

And these bees are foraging on a neighbour's Echinops:

Hopefully the weather will be dry enough this weekend for me to open up the hives.  Who knows, there may even be some honey...?