End of season

“I think it would be better to take its legs off.”

It’s great to have someone to consult with, there’s nothing better than being able to share the blame 😊,  and ‘two heads are better than one, even if it’s only a head of cabbage’.

“Why?” was the response. “Couldn’t we put a piece of timber on top of it and use it as an extra surface to put things on for the rest of the year?” was his eminently practical suggestion he’d been suggesting for days.  It’s always good to explore alternative ideas and think outside the box but this idea horrified me! Visions of my nice shiny honey extractor double jobbing and enduring abuse for the next 11½ months flashed before my eyes.  

“We could wrap it up and tuck it neatly under that shelf safe out of harm’s way until next year AND there would be more room in the shed.” Was my convincing (I hoped) counter argument. A bit of help wrapping, shifting and tucking would be welcome so the buy-in would be great.

“Hmm” came the agreement and without another word we were wielding ratchet spanners and dismantling and off with its legs!  

(The Big Brown Box – is a post about when I received delivery of my shiny extractor.)

That’s the end of the season. The honey has been extracted.

What a strange year it was with such a glorious in spring, May and June. Who could forget the balmy, warm sunny days of June in Ireland? There were bee swarms a plenty; swarms in awkward places like the whiskey barrels, and caught in bait boxes. There was learning about Checker boarding, and removing queen excluders to prevent swarming.

Happy days.

As the bees were stocking up so well with honey in June, I added another super (box) to the hives. “Give them plenty of room” whispered old beekeepers’ wisdom in my ears. I was looking forward to the bees filling up these boxes. Wouldn’t that be grand.

The record wettest July followed – not that you need reminding. The bees ate what they had, and lucky to have it they were. The hives bludgeoning with bees were still thriving when I checked again before harvest.

Plenty of bees.

Little honey!

They had ate most of the honey they had collected, not much surplus for the poor beekeeper this year.  I did get honey, one hive (only one) was good and defied the odds and funny enough that was the only one with a queen excluder.. As for the rest…. The queen roaming about the place laying her eggs in all the boxes did not help. I can’t remove a frame with eggs or larvae or capped brood AND honey, the bees will cling to those frames and not leave their young. I could only take the frames with honey (and not eggs, larvae or brood) and none of these frames were full with honey. Because the brood were scattered about in all the boxes the bees were extra tetchy – “Leave our family alone!” I can hardly blame them. I collected what I could and left the rest to the bees.

Such is life and farming!

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”  Henry David Thoreau

Links to learn more about queen excluders:

My own Blog posts about the honey harvest other years:

The exceptional hive 2023

Adding supers – mid-June

New hive boxes thankfully arrived in time- ref post called A wing and a prayer