The first lecture I attended, starting at 9.30 on Monday morning, was Dennis Ryan on Harvesting the Crop. I took a page of barely legible notes. It’s very difficult to keep up when you’re noting what the last powerpoint slide said as the next one is on screen and being discussed. That’s why, back in my working days, whenever I had to give a Ppt presentation I would provide a printed handout of the script with space alongside to make notes.
Here goes: Shake a frame to see if honey comes out. Use a refractometer. Allow the crop to ripen in the hive for at least two weeks after the end of the honey flow.
Dennis has about 100 hives with 10 or a dozen in each apiary. Bees are collecting water in August to dilute honey for use.
He showed us his clearer board with 2 holes in opposite corners with rims with a slot around. Open mesh floors are below the hive with insulation above.
He uses Apiguard for Varroa control and oxalic acid. He mentioned Bee Go but didn’t say where he got it. I haven’t been able to obtain any in the UK for years as they aren’t allowed to send it from the USA by air and they’ve forgotten how to ship things by ship! If anyone can figure out how to replenish my supply, please let me know. It stinks so I wouldn’t use it anywhere near honey, but it’s great for shifting a swarm out of a cavity or steering to so that it comes within reach.
Dennis recommends young queens and has over 90 this year. He covers the floor of the extracting room with a plastic sheet and strains honey at no more than 42 degrees centigrade. Any warmer than that and it destroys the enzymes that distinguish honey from golden syrup!
Record keeping is important.
Dennis went slightly over time so there couldn’t be too many questions. The fact that I found most useful was that an entrance 1/4″ deep is mouse-proof whereas one 3/8″ isn’t!