Beekeeping in July is a busy time for apiarists but on a warm summer’s day there is nothing more relaxing than sitting and watching the bees coming and going from the hive. The brood nest will have reached its peak and the Queen will begin to reduce the amount of eggs she lays. Some beekeepers say that when the Rosebay Willowherb starts to flower it heralds the end of the main nectar flow. Luckily it flowers for quite a few weeks and the bees love it. Clover, bramble and lime trees are amongst the other favourite sources of nectar at this time of year. The bees invert the nectar that they have collected, reducing the moisture content, until it becomes honey. When the viscosity is correct they will seal the cells containing the honey with wax.
The beekeeper’s job is to ensure that the bees have enough space to store their honey. We do this by adding boxes called “supers” above the brood box. The Queen is kept in the brood box by the use of a Queen excluder which is essentially a grid that allows the smaller worker bees through but not the Queen. We don’t want any brood laid in the honey supers. When we see each super full of bees working every seam then another super is added. Typically a full super can contain between 20 to 30 lbs of honey. Did I mention that you need a strong back or a willing partner for beekeeping?!
July has seen the Newbury and District Beekeepers’ Association Practical Beekeeping Course come to an end. All the participants now are proud owners of their own bees. They started their training back in November 2013 when we held a course of six evening classes teaching the theory behind beekeeping. This course provides essential knowledge for anyone who is considering becoming a beekeeper, or indeed for anyone who just wants to increase their knowledge of the honeybee. The Practical Course began in May consisting of six Sunday afternoon sessions of hands on beekeeping helping to build the confidence and understanding of the beginners in preparation for getting their own bees.
If you are interested in doing our Beginners’ Beekeeping Course starting this November please send me an email to [email protected] and I will be more than happy to pass on details.
Quick reminder if you see a swarm please ring a member of the Newbury & District Beekeepers Association and one of us will gladly come and pick the swarm up:
Newbury environs: Michael White 01635 44945
East of Newbury: Paul Jarvis 01635 862495
Didcot/Wantage: Rob Nickless 01235 510479
Marlborough area: Louise Cookson 01672 514506
More information can be found on our website www.newburybeekeepers.org.uk