The Joys of Beekeeping

Driving back from the Orchard apiary to the hives in Bee Nirvana, I feel it. The contentment. The Joys of Beekeeping. As the peace envelopes me I class it a halcyon day. A balmy 6oC sunny and calm after the previous night’s rain and a cold snap the days before with temperatures below freezing. I also had the privilege and freedom to escape beyond the restricted 5km for this essential trip to feed my bees. It’s a terrible thing for a beekeeper to discover a hive with dead bees, seeing many otherwise good looking bees with their heads in the cells indicating that the colony of bees had starved due to neglect. A top-up feed before the next cold snap is necessary and if they don’t need it all the better.

While putting fondant on top of the hive frames, I was able to have a quick look at the cluster of bees, they looked the same as the last visit, so all is well. I’d sing with joy except I’d frighten the crows. I can only do my best for my bees but it’s up to nature and good fortune for the most part. My next inspection of the bees will be to check on their health and give a little spring clean of the hive floor around St Patrick’s day (17th March) or a little after, as soon as the temperature reaches 15oC.

“I sleep in my nest all winter long,
But rush fearlessly forth in the March wind’s song..
Flowers and their friends – Margaret W Morley

I haven’t been totally idle bee-work-wise since the flurry of candle making before Christmas. The shed had to be cleaned and reorganise, Bee boxes, floors, roofs, feeders, queen excluders etc, needed to be re-stacked, with a fair scatter of them to be sterilised ready for the next season, as well as frames to clean. How on earth did I accumulate so much bee-related paraphernalia? I hack away at these chores like I’ve a tiny pickaxe, one tiny bit at a time. I don’t have the full days to commit so first thing in the morning before work my neighbours are probably wondering what the heck is going on in my back garden as one hive box at a time is cleaned, and again after work, another one.  You’d be amazed how you can get through it all one box at a time. Just as well I don’t have a lot of hives!!!!  

Hives sorted and ready for cleaning
Darker comb is where brood had being reared for a while.
Happy hive as the winter sun sets .

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