Towards the end of the season you will probably have observed bright green pollen loads coming in – like this. Please excuse poor photo.
If you ask your local beekeeper, he or she is likely to tell you that it is meadowsweet. However, if you doggedly search the drifts of meadowsweet in your locale for a bee with full pollen baskets, you will see that the pollen they are carrying is actually a creamy yellow. See photo below:
The gorse is in flower – again. The main flowering time for Ulex europaeus is March to June but it will also flower sporadically in winter.
Another species of gorse present in Ireland is U.gallii or Dwarf Furze which flowers from July to September. Between the two of them they manage to give the impression that the gorse is always in flower.
‘Why would you want to?’ says you. Well the news on the streets is that it’s only a matter of time before it will be announced that research into the health benefits of ivy honey has discovered it to be the best thing since Manuka – I’m serious. Click here for more about ivy honey.
However, taking a crop of ivy honey is problematic for several reasons:
It sets in the comb even more quickly than rape honey so is difficult to extract;
It is the last honey flow of the season and the bees build up on it and rely on it for their winter stores;
By the time you take it off it could be too late to feed before winter sets in.
It’s easy to get confused when setting up your queen rearing – I know, I’ve been there.
But don’t panic – this simple-to-use timetable/diagram below is for queen rearing using the Cloake board method with a Jenter kit. However, if you prefer to graft or the queen won’t play ball with the Jenter – all is not lost – just graft the smallest larvae you can find on day 8 and all should be well.
By the way, the header photo is of the Lewis chessmen – made of walrus tusks and whale teeth in Norway or perhaps Iceland in the 12th century.
Skep making course with Jane Sellers at Ashford Heritage Centre, Saturday 16th March 2019 from 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Price – around €80 depending on numbers. This includes full instruction and sufficient materials (long stemmed wheat straw and rattan binding) to complete a standard size swarm skep 11”x13″.
Tools will be provided but bring scissors, and a bodkin if you have one.
Tea and Coffee will be available but please bring your own packed lunch.
Please note – skep-making is time consuming. During the course of the day you will learn how to make a skep. You might not complete it, but you will leave with the know-how and materials to finish it at home.
Please also note – there are maximum of 10 places available so if you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.