An Apiary Safari in Llanafan
After a wet start to the day and some geocaching around Llanafan, the sun was shining brightly by the time we met the rest of the Aberystwyth Beekeepers at the village hall in Llanafan. We were all heading out for an ‘apiary safari’ for the afternoon where we visit other peoples apiary and take a look at their bees.
We hadn’t expected loads of people today and didn’t really expect the weather to be quite so kind to us, but we go along more for the social side of things and of course the tea and cakes afterwards. However, now that the sun was shining and things were looking perfect for beekeeping, we were soon organised and all headed off to different apiaries. We went with Rob and Lynfa to their apiary on Trawscoed Farm where they had a drone laying queen that they wanted to kill. Their apiary was in a perfect spot with easy access from the car and plenty of shelter from the trees. It was however getting the afternoon sun and the bees seem fairly happy. We soon found the drone laying queen. As she was about to be destroyed we decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to practise clipping a queen and for Morgan to mark her. We did so and then despatched her before cremating her in the smoker. Rob and Lynfa were then going to unite the small colony with another that they had elsewhere.
This didn’t take long so we then went up to meet the others at Phil’s apiary. There were quite a few people here and they had already had a tour of his garden high on the hills above the Ystwyth Valley. There was plenty of shelter from tall laurel and leylandii hedges though and apiary was well protected. In fact the entire garden was feeling like something of a sun trap today. We had a quick look a couple of the hives but then left the others to it as there were a few beginners who wanted to take a closer look.
We sat in the sun chatting instead. Elsewhere, another group had gone off to take a look at Will’s apiary as well. When they were finished, we all headed back to Llanafan Village Hall where we met for the now customary tea and cake feast. As usual, there was plenty to go around and our Greek Honey Cake went down a treat.
As usual with these apiary safari’s it only highlights how challenging the conditions are where we try to keep bees. I know ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ but it does always seem as though the conditions are ideal in other people’s apiaries whereas we struggle to find days that are suitable weather-wise for inspections. Once back at home it was still a little windy but getting quite late so I resisted the urge to take a look at our bees as well and instead pottered in the garden for an hour or so.