Episode 116: Late Queen Rearing and Lawnmowers

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Hi, I’m Stewart Spinks and welcome to Episode 116 of my podcast, Beekeeping Short and Sweet, Summer is here, our lime trees and blackberries are bursting with flowers and it’s time to benefit from the hard work of the Spring and early Summer. In other news I’m building a wall this week so stay tuned for my latest updates.
Do take a look at the extra content available on my patreon page, that’s www.patreon.com/norfolkhoney

I’m grateful to Honey Paw hives for sponsoring in part our podcasts for this season. Honey Paw hives are, as I’m sure you’re aware, Poly Langstroth hives and we’re setting up an apiary full of their hives this season courtesy of Honey Paw. Check out their range of hives and other equipment on their website, I’ll leave a link to their website in the show notes as usual.

Honey Paw Hives - Designed by Beekeepers, For Beekeepers.

Welcome back everyone after a brief, enforced absence.

So, it’s been a mad busy couple of week’s I won’t bore you with the personal stuff as there’s so much beekeeping to talk about.

Here’s a quick update of where we’re at, colonies that were on the oilseed Rape pollination are now back at their respective permanent apiaries, it’s a pretty big job for a small commercial outfit but there were no disasters this year. Colonies have been trying to swarm or have swarmed and replacement queens are back laying eggs, for some of them it’s all a bit late and they won’t be producing any honey over the Summer. Hive Number six continues to be our strongest colony and is filing yet more supers with honey, it’s going to be very interesting to see how they end up this year.

I’ve heard stories of beekeepers being attacked when they get too close to their beehives with strimmers and lawnmowers so I always figure on being a little cautious. I even put on my gloves, no point in wearing a bee suit only to be stung on the fingertips. Anyway, I started out at the university apiary, it was the closest on my way back home. All set, I fired up the lawnmower and did a couple of passes back and forth, no real trouble. On the third strip I suddenly became aware of a sudden pain in my ankle, looked down and saw something like thirty or forty bees attacking my boots! One of the colonies was obviously very upset with my need to keep a tidy lawn. I say lawn, it’s more ragwort and those yellow spikes flowers, the name’s escaped me at the moment. Anyway, one of the little attackers had got itself under the ankle cuff and had stung me good and proper. Obviously I fled the scene quickly pushing the now quiet lawnmower as fast as I could. Then I felt a sudden pain on the back of my left knee and realised with some horror that bees were actually getting inside my bees suit via a dodgy zip and to make matters worse I was wearing shorts! How those beekeepers inspect their bees wearing just shorts and t-shirts I will never know. Suffice to say I left the lawnmower, jumped into the truck and got rid of as many bees as I could before they progressed any higher. I’m glad to report there were no further stings.

I rescued the lawnmower and made a fairly quick exit and headed to the fishing lakes apiaries where the bees were altogether calmer and ignored me completely.

Some times you just have to concede defeat, sort your wounds and prepare for the next time!

Well, that’s all for this week, oh, that spiky plant is called a verbascum. I knew the name would come back to me eventually.

Well, that’s it for this week, Thanks for hanging around until the end of the podcast and keep the comments coming.

Please do take a look at the extra content available on my patreon page, that’s www.patreon.com/norfolk honey

I’m Stewart Spinks

And that was Beekeeping Short and Sweet

156 episodes