Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => UK / EUROPEAN BEEKEEPING => Topic started by: Somerford on June 07, 2010, 07:45:54 am

Title: update on UK
Post by: Somerford on June 07, 2010, 07:45:54 am
Hi all

Well the UK beekeeping season is well underway, and due to the late nature of the spring, it seems that the bees have been triggered into huge swarming modes, unlike anything I have seen personally for a many a year.

I have collected a few swarms, but my neighbour has had 4 prime swarms in 2 weeks, and none were from his hives either.

Honey production seems a little slower for me this year, but a new beekeeping buddy (and elderly chap with 40+ hives only 5 miles away) is doing very well. He keeps most of his colonies on 'Commercial' frames, while I use a mixture of National and 14x12 framed hives.

The weather is turning a little cooler and wetter this week, which is a worry as I have 3 Apidea nucs to mate !!

regards to all form the UK

Title: Re: update on UK (October)
Post by: Somerford on October 11, 2010, 04:05:50 pm
Well firstly apologies for the timelapse since last posting in July - a new job and divorce seem to have taken over things somewhat leaving me less time to browse the forums, however this will be corrected !

So, how was the year for me ?

I started with 2 colonies, and have ended with 8 full colonies and 3 nucs to over winter - all from prime swarms collected in the locality including 1 huge cut out.

It would seem that this season was far more swarmy than others I have known, although I was in mroe of a position to collect them as I was out of work for 3 months and obviously spent more time with the bees (if only I could make it pay!)

One beekeeper in the county of Wiltshire apparently collected over 200 swarms and sold the lot on at £100 each, and charged for collection too !

So how was the honey harvest ? An average of 100lb per hive (2.5 hives delivered, the rest were swarms) so that bodes well for next year, and about in line with my average. Next season will see me having the most colonies I have had for a long time....I'll need to get making the supers this winter !

Health wise, the colonies are in fine fettle. The cutout colony had more varroa as expected, but the rest seem to have light infestation. Only the Oxalic acid treatment remains now in December.

Well, I'll update again shortly. Any questions ? ask away !


Title: Happy New Year - January Update
Post by: Somerford on January 03, 2011, 09:06:55 am
Hi all

Well we have just had 3 weeks of the coldest weather in December in the UK for over 100 years, on top of that 2010 was the coldest on record as an average for each warming ? sudden shift in earth's axis ? who knows ?!

We had 2 weeks of snow that lay all over Christmas and put a stop to any planned Varroa treatments. I tend to treat with Thymol in the autumn and Oxalic acid in December, but the latter requires a temperature of above 6/7 degrees C as the cluster has to be a little mobile to have the best effect. As it is, I am still waiting for a day where we have this !

Today is a Bank Holiday, and have been making supers and a couple of triple hive stands ready for the new season and will repair another this afternoon. As I worked, we had another snow shower which makes it all very pretty after the thaw last week.

So how are the bees doing ? well all 3 mini nucs dies out a month or two ago. My fault as I should have united them much earlier and they were kept in case I had a hive go queenless in the autumn. Not a great loss as they were pulled virgins originally and I only populated them with a cupfull of bees each. The other 8 colonies appear well, all have had a large block of fondant on them, some of which is really being consumed quickly.

Plans for the first part of the season ? well I have 2 colonies that have wild comb in them that need sorting out and I have a few new brood chambers and frames ready. The rest, well I look forward to an early thaw and an early spring......but in 2010 we had a bitterly cold Jan & Feb with snow, so I won't count my chickens !

Happy New Year from North Wiltshire !


Title: Re: update on UK
Post by: Kathyp on January 03, 2011, 11:26:26 am
your weather is much the same as ours, although i think you have gotten more snow this year.  sounds like your bee years was much like ours also.  it was a good honey year for most of us in the PNW.  also a heavy swarm year.  i had so many calls that i was passing them off to another local beekeeper.  started carrying extra stuff with me because if i picked up a swam in an area it was almost a sure thing that while i was at it i'd get more calls from that same area.

you know that you have a scientist over there who says we are headed for a mini-ice age?   :-D  as cold as we are, i'll take the warming!!!   :evil:
Title: Re: update on UK
Post by: Somerford on January 03, 2011, 02:32:18 pm
Hi Kathy
Yes, I had heard that and alluded to it in my post. I think the winters have suddenly got alot harsher here, but the summers seem as warm. The rest of Europe does have freak extremes too, but then so does the rest of the it that they are better reported upon than ten years ago or actually increasing in incidence, I don't know.

All I can say here is that to try and offset our carbon footprints, the government is taxing larger car engines more, encouraging the uptake of solar/wind energy on small scale projects, and making people recycle more, which will take some doing especially when you see the mess left at pop concerts/festivals and on trains, let alone at home.

And what does this have in store for my bees ? well, there are some figures that suggest we have 30-40% more beekeepers in the UK than 2 years ago, and the demand for my honey locally is very high...long may it continue !

I continued making up hive bodies, brood frames and supers today in readiness for the spring.....roll on the first honey flow !!