28 March 2015

Posted by Peter 28/03/2015 0 Comment(s)

I've spent the last few weeks reading some good beekeeping blogs from Canadian beekeepers and thought it about time I started my own, if only so I can look back later with a critical eye.  So here goes.  I'm currently struggling with a bad back which isn't great as the season hasn't started yet.  My backs been poor for the last 30 years and I go once a month to the physio but it went over a week ago.  It did get me looking at boom loaders and pricing them up.  I had started thinking this way late last year so have started moving hives onto a two pallet system.  My plan is to get all my breeder stock onto nationals and my production stock onto Langstroths.  So that's where the two hive pallets come in.  I've spied some metal stands that would work great with these pallets and then the boom loader.  They're made by a French company so need to look at a visit there next year, or knowing me, I'll try making some, realise I haven't the welding skills and then visit France.

Anyhow, just thinking where we are now.  Two years ago we still had snow on the ground, last year we were looking at starting grafting as drones were already about and this year we're back in the cold weather thinking about feeding.  In fact yesterday I took another feed delivery as some bees are getting lite.  And next week I'll be out on at least 2 sites feeding.  One I can't get near the bees yet as the field is too wet so its a barrow and a backpack job.  These bees were bought off a chap that retired so I need to re-think the logistics.  

I bought quite a few colonies late last year from two chaps that retired.  One had not looked after his for a number of years so the thought process is that these should have an element of varroa resistance. Certaintly when I looked through them last year the brood pattern was solid with little sign of varroasis.  These will be assessed in spring before I decide where they go.  The second lot were on a desirable apiary with plenty of forage about and these are survivor stock that the chap has improved over 30 plus years.  Just hoping I can do him justice, but I'm already sure these will soon be brought into the breeding programme.

So were am I now. Over winter I've built and painted 50 more langstroth broods, wired and waxed the frames and built and painted over 30 roofs.  I've brought another 30 langstroth supers into the operation and am trialling them with plastic foundation as i'm expecting sraping the frames off the heather to be easier, although a heather loostener is on the cards. I need to complete a few more floors and need to make a new perspex top for the extractor then hopefully I'm ready for the season.  I also need to make some more adapter boards so i can use my national supers on the langstroths until i can buy more supers I need at least 150 more. In terms of bees, mostly just hefting and going through the few that aren't right.  Not thought about spring inspections yet, thought the ones I have are looking good though another brood cycle is going to make a big difference.  I did want to think about grafting WC 13th April however I'll be surprised if we have drones by then, so may well have to put things back a week or even two.  Finisher colonies all have feed and pollen substitute on so they should be ready when things do warm up.  Looks like the season is going to be somewhat compressed.

I'll try to do a weekly update but things are going to get busy soon, especially as I'm trying to rationalise things so they'll be more manageable in the long run.