Beekeeping Day

On Saturday 7th August a joint meeting was held with Shipston Beekeepers – many of those attending being members of both organisations.
The day was held as a Food Group Skill Share event and also as a follow-up to the Introduction to Beekeeping course held last March.

Part of the morning’s programme was based on Products of the Hive and included a tasting and evaluation of the three different types of multi-floral Honey – runny (with 80%-+ sugar content, just as extracted from the comb), granulated (all honey will eventually crystallise) and creamed (a ‘fine crystal’ honey whipped to an ‘easily spreadable’ consistency). There was a demonstration of ‘uncapping’ frames of honey comb and extracting the honey using a centrifuge. The wax cappings and some comb still containing honey was placed in the warming cupboard of an oven to show how wax and honey (both ‘made’ by the bees from nectar!) can be separated using a gentle heating process. The making of Beeswax candles was discussed with a variety of the moulded variety on display. Propolis (a resin ‘glue’ collected from sticky buds and tree sap) is used by the bees as an ‘anti-bacterial’ agent and to fill small (less than 8mm) spaces within the hive. Pollen is fed to larvae and young bees for its protein and mineral content. All of these products of the hive are ingested or otherwise used by mankind for their proven medicinal properties.

After a ‘bring and share’ lunch the group moved on to the Barn Apiary where a morning’s theory session on Preparing for Winter was put into practice – full ‘supers’ (boxes of frames of honeycomb) were removed from on top of the hives - ‘clearer’ boards containing one way ‘valves’ to remove the bees had been inserted 48hrs previously. Each hive had a thymol vapour treatment to help control the numbers therein of the parasitic Varroa mite that is causing the demise of honey bee colonies in the wild. 2:1 sugar syrup feeders were placed on each of the hives so as to eventually bring the total weight of ‘stores’ to some 40 lbs – the amount necessary to see an individual colony safely through the winter. Those attending the very full day’s event took away a jar of the honey that they had helped extract in the morning together with a wooden dipper to drizzle this wonderful ‘nectar’ on their toast!

Douglas Nethercleft

No comments:

Post a Comment