Green pollen?

Towards the end of the season you will probably have observed bright green pollen loads coming in – like this. Please excuse poor photo.

Green pollen loads

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:

Continue reading Green pollen?

Bee Flowers – October

Not much for the bees this month!

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.

Click here for more about gorse

Click the table below for a better view. Continue reading Bee Flowers – October

How to take a crop of Ivy honey

‘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.

Ivy flow
Strong ivy flow (23.10.14) note the yellow pollen loads. Click photo for full size image

However, taking a crop of ivy honey is problematic for several reasons:

  1. It sets in the comb even more quickly than rape honey so is difficult to extract;
  2. It is the last honey flow of the season and the bees build up on it and rely on it for their winter stores;
  3. By the time you take it off it could be too late to feed before winter sets in.

So, here’s what you do:

Continue reading How to take a crop of Ivy honey

How to Prepare Bees for the Heather

Apart from the weather, the most important element to ensuring a crop of heather honey is the strength of the colony.

To maximise your chances of success – your heather stocks should have:

  • A new queen;
  • A huge army of workers;
  • Ample stores.

It can be difficult to find colonies towards the end of the summer with all three attributes but there is a relatively simple all-in-one way to prepare in advance. Continue reading How to Prepare Bees for the Heather

Queen Rearing Timetable for Cloake Board & Jenter Kit

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.

Good luck!

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.

Click the timetable for a bigger picture. Continue reading Queen Rearing Timetable for Cloake Board & Jenter Kit

Perfect Supersedure

Supersedure is a characteristic of the native Irish honey bee. It is where the bees replace an ageing or waning queen without swarming.

Perfect supersedure is where the old honey bee queen obligingly remains in-situ, laying to the best of her abilities, until the new queen is up and running – before gracefully fizzling out.

This is a sought-after trait for obvious reasons and if you find it in one of your colonies you should definitely factor it in to your bee improvement assessments. Click here for Bee Improvement and to download Assessment sheets.

Here are some fuzzy photo’s of a perfect supersedure in one of our hives yesterday (20.5.19)

Native Irish Honey Bee Supersedure

Click here for Fighting Queen Bees

Click here for Piping Queen Bees

Click here for How to Improve your Bees

Click here for more about the life cycle of honey bees

Click here for more about the Queen Bee

Click here for Swarm Control

Click here for Swarm Prevention

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Skep Making Course 2019

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.

Four Bee Skeps, small domed grass, small domed oaten straw, two swarm skeps
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 to book your place.
Swarm skep made from flowering stems of purple moor grass
Swarm skep made from flowering stems of purple moor grass

Information For Humans Beeing