Sunday 24 June 2012

Honey and Strawberries

These photos show how the Top Bar Hives are coming along, we installed the bees about 4 weeks ago now in the two hives, both are working well and both are up to bar 8, you can see from the second photo how they have built there comb, this comb like the others is full of capped brood with food stores at the top, when you consider there have built 8 of these in 4 weeks yet the in the national hives all they have to do is draw comb and fill it but it seems to take them longer in the nationals to reach this stage so the national bees are just lazier, we got another swarm the other night and this time we put them in a top bar travelling box rather than on frames, and already they are making progress, so now Martin has to get making another hive, other advantages of the top bars are they are cheap to set up as you don't need any frames or foundation just a long box nothing fancy with some bars along the top, it makes bee keeping affordable for all. Its not a good year so far for the bees what started out promising hasn't become brilliant because of the weather the bees cant get out and forage as much as they should be, there does seem rather a lot of swarms about this year, my theory is they feel there colony is at threat of starvation because of the weather so they are producing more queens and swarming in an effort to help the colony survive, there is more chance of survival with fewer mouths to feed.
Strawberries are doing great this year although a few weeks later than normal, I picked a good 2lb the other evening from our patch and turned them into jam, today we picked about another 2lb so it was strawberries and cream this afternoon a real taste of summer, we also got our first crop of Broad Beans picked only a small bowl, and the peas are fattening up nicely as well, harvested the new potatoes they were lovely with butter, we must get some more in for cropping this winter, we will grow them on in barrels in the tunnel. The sweet potatoes seem to have settled and are starting to romp away, cucumbers are starting to set as are the tomatoes so perhaps summer will arrive after all in the garden.

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