Promoting the physical, mental and social well being of the community of Ossy
You may have noticed a small fenced area at the back of the garden, well if you take a closer look you’ll see some strange boxes. And if you look closer you’ll see bees flying out and bees flying in.
The bees leaving are heading out into the surrounding countryside in search of nectar and pollen. They take in the nectar and carry the pollen on their back legs.
Once loaded, they head back to the hive and if you pay close attention to the returning bees you may see the brightly coloured pollen stuck on their legs - it varies in colour depending on the plants on which they have been foraging. But inside the hive there is also a lot of activity.
The queen, and there is only one, lays eggs - up to 2,000 every day. These eggs mostly hatch into worker bees and they can number up to 60,000 inside the hive.
Before the workers are ready to take on foraging duties they are put to work inside the hive, cleaning and preparing cells, removing debris and some tend to the queen.
At this time of year, it’s all systems go - the workers prepare cells for the queen to lay eggs as fast as possible. Foraging bees work from sunrise to sunset bringing back nectar and pollen.
The bees produce tiny plates of wax that are used to make the honeycomb into which everything is stored.
Eggs are laid in the cells and workers provide enough food before capping the cell and three weeks later the newly hatched bees emerge.
The cells are also used to store food.
Incoming bees pass their stores to other bees who pack the pollen into empty cells, and the nectar is processed into honey which is stored in cells that when full is sealed with a wax lid.
All of this is so that the queen and all her brood can survive the winter during which they seldom leave the hive, huddled together and living off the honey stores created during the long hot days of summer.
You might ask where are the boy bees?
Well that’s a story for another day.
Andrew, The Bee Keeper @ Rhyddings
The three beehives on the park are doing well.
The top bar hive is a bit of a concern as they have a lot of work to do if they are going to see the other side of winter.
The poly hive is bulging and we are hoping that there will be a honey harvest, even though it might be small. We have experimented with a tray of inverted honey jars seeded with foundation (pressed wax) and they have taken to it, so hopefully some of those jars will be removed and topped up with the other honey.
The fibreglass hive is working well and next week we’ll be putting the honey frames on it and then they can get on with what they do best – making honey to over winter.We are also building another topbar hive in readiness, but for the time being it will be something that people can look at without having to worry about the bees.
The good weather has been wonderful for the bees to make up for all the days that they couldn’t forage. By end of August early September, the nectar flow will have stopped and they will have reduced food, so the drones will be disposed of – take note men!!
The queen will reduce her rate of laying and the hive will start to prepare for winter.
We will help them to keep the heat in and the pests out, provide them with some additional food to help them over the cold months and we’ll only see them again around March.
What's something exciting your business offers? Say it here.
Well, some good news and sad news.
The small swarm that went into the top bar hive is dwindling away and unlikely to survive. For those remaining it might be best to combine them with the others.
The poly hive is working very well and as you will see from the ‘jam jar’ experiment there are lots of bees working on the combs. After checking the jars we selves into the lower super and it is largely full of honey - difficult to say, but possible if we harvested half we would get about a dozen jars - not bad for such a dreadful year.
Have fitted an entrance to the hive that should minimise the activity of wasps as they won’t enter through such small openings.
The fibreglass box is also thriving and the queen is definitely in the brood box as there were eggs, larvae and capped brood. There is also a fair amount of honey. This hive will need tidying up but all is looking good.
Interesting that above the queen excluder were a number of dead bees - seems the drones that hatched couldn’t get through - unfortunate casualties of the move.
By mid next month we’ll get the gear together to harvest the honey and then we can prepare them for winter and leave them alone through the dark and cold.
Andrew the BeeKeeper
There is a BUZZ around the Kitchen Garden .... that'll be the Rhyddings Bees, who are settling in very nicely under Andrew, the qualified BeeKeeper's watchful eye.
We can't wait for more folk to be able to come into the garden but we have to do that safely and slowly ....
it doesn't mean we can't create our own BUZZ and ask the community to participate in our Bee competitions !
Bee Drawing - designed for Children under 14 years
Natural Product Model Bees - all age
Bee Writing - designed for aged 10-18 years
Prizes are bee themed tea parties / dinners in the Coach House
Entries to be received by 30/9/20