Aberystwyth Beekeepers Practical
The beginning of a new week already – It’s a shame the weekend had to end as it was a really lovely one here in West Wales. Clear blue skies, temperatures around 20ºC, light winds and not too busy.
We got lots done in the garden and also attended an Aberystwyth Beekeepers Association practical session. This particular practical session was aimed at those of us on the Beginners Beekeepers course aimed at getting us ready for our new adventures into beekeeping. Some of us will be getting bees for the first time in about a month so it was an opportunity to see some of the things we’ve been talking about in the theory sessions and get our hands dirty with some of the kit.
All the usual people were there and these sessions have become quite a friendly social gathering really. So, after a cup of tea, some cake and a quick wander around Ann’s garden to look at here Skimmia bush covered in bees we got down to business. We started off with Lynfa showing us how to make up frames and then set to with our hammer and nails making some of our own. Morgan was a good help and now knows how to do it himself.
We then had some tips on lighting our smokers before donning our beekeeping suits and heading off to inspect a couple of hives. Morgan and I have done this before, but Anna hasn’t so I think she was a little apprehensive about what it might be like. The first hive was very docile. Morgan was in charge of the smoker but we barely needed any smoke. We soon found the queen and all had a look at the frames where we could identify honey, pollen, capped brood, uncapped brood and eggs.
The next hive was a little different as it was much bigger and had actually been overwintered on a double brood box. There were quite a few bees in this one but they weren’t too feisty. Ann wanted to reduce them back down to a single brood box so after finding the queen in the bottom box, we took out any frames with only stores and no brood in them from that box and replaced them with frames containing brood from the top box. We then put the queen excluder in between them and put the hive back together. Not a normal manipulation of a hive but it all went well and the bees seemed really healthy.
We also checked for Varroa mites and even dug out some drone brood to check them for varroa but they were all clear.
After getting out of our bee-suits we had a picnic in the sunshine and a chat and then headed home where I finished off the fence, planted out some plants and Morgan and I made up some more frames.
A nice busy day outside in the sunshine. If only the weekend was longer so we could do the same today.