I’ve been harvesting honey, rather later than usual this year because of my broken leg, but the last couple of days I’ve not used my stick. With the help of my friend, Ann, we took supers from my apiaries at Seaborough, Frome Vauchurch and the Weymouth Bay Holiday Camp at Preston and have spent a couple of days extracting, keeping the batches separate.
Today we took the empty supers back to the holiday camp where the hives are in the centre of a wild flower meadow. Because of my leg I hadn’t been able to get to the bees all summer. It’s a jungle and the path I usually use was impassable so I had to find another way, wading through brambles, nettles etc. I managed ok when collecting the supers but this morning I tripped over and landed in a ditch, getting soaked and stung by nettles, which hurt more than bee stings!
I was pleased to see that a bait hive that I had left there was occupied, although the bees were a bit stroppy, possibly because of the wasps that were raiding. They didn’t have enough surplus stores to take any but the original hive yielded 4 supers, one of which was full of wild comb at all the wrong angles. This was used for cut comb and I took it with me this morning to show to the management team at the holiday camp.
Last year they bought all the honey from the site and put their own labels on it. They still have some so I doubt if they will do the same this year. They were impressed by the cut comb and bought 5 straight away.
I was asked to dress up in a bee suit and be photographed with the team and with the honey. The plan is to gain publicity as they get ‘greenie points’ for having wild flowers and for being kind to bees. It is just possible, if the technology can be mastered, that they might post the pictures here.
Soon after I got home the phone rang and it was a nearby farmer’s wife who runs a B & B in their extensive farmhouse. She has visitors and would like to have some of my honey to sell them. I was able to sell her some of the liquid honey from Preston which we hastily jarred and some cut combs from Seaborough.
The day was finished off at dusk when the supers were returned to Seaborough where the hives are in an orchard opposite the owner’s ancient house. There was no answer at the door so a present/rent of a jar of honey from those bees and a large chunk of comb (in a plastic box!) was left on the doorstep and a text message sent.
I shall take a day off from honey processing tomorrow as there is a DARG meeting at the Newton Abbott apiary where it is planned to spend a few hours gazing through microscopes at the spermathecae of dead queens.