Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Love me love my bees

Andrew has kept bees since he was a child.

He won the premium bonds at the age of nine and like all little boys he ran out an bought a............bee hive??

Not a bike or a model train but bee keeping equipment - I'd like to tell you it was a phase he went through and grew out of but..........

Still - it makes life fun and a bit unpredictable!

So when Andrew moved to the cottage so did his bees......

This weekend it was time to check the hives after the long wet winter. We don't like to disturb them to soon in the spring but allow them to get there strength & number up and start getting some stores in.

We were aware that one hive had died during the winter but the other colony was going strong with lots of bees flying in & out gathering pollen.

So it was time to suit up,

Light the smoker and have a look at them...

Andrew firsts puffs some smoke through the entrance to get the bees to go up into the hive. The smoke helps to calm the bees and allows us to open them up & have a look.

It's a busy colony........

Smoke is then drifted across the top to drive the bees down so we can have a look at the frames.

I love the unique smells - the smoke, sweet honey and the cedar wood of the hive itself - wonderful

They are such a strong busy colony having outgrown the frames we put in at the end of last summer and gone on to build 'wild' comb either side of the boards.

Some views from within the hive.

The bees are very good natured in this colony and are ignoring us completely. Some years they have dive bombed us whilst doing this and one memorable year we had to make a quick exit and stay in the house with the windows shut for the rest of the day!

We removed some of the wild comb to eat and added some new frames to tidy up the hive. I didn't take anymore pictures because it all became a bit too sticky!

It was beautiful spring honey with a very delicate flavour - tasting of the apple blossom.

We ate it on hot buttered toast and also with some natural yogurt - yummy!