Thursday, 22 April 2010

Spring last.

The beautiful weather has meant that we have finally been able to carry out the spring cleaning of the Bee hives. Most of one week end was taken up with preparing the kit, doing the job, then cleaning up afterwards. It is not great fun, but gives us a good foundation for the seasons' work.
We move the brood box (carefully) onto a spare floor, then thoroughly scrape and brush the original. Then, a clean brood box is put onto the clean floor. Each frame is then taken out, inspected and put into the clean brood box. Spotting the Queen is important. We can't afford to lose her! Any dirty or damaged frames are removed, and replaced with clean. Best beloved and I are ruthless at this point. We would rather put in clean frames, and feed, than leave dirty comb containing stores.The point is not only cleanliness, but it also leaves fewer hiding places for varroa.
The rest of the hive is reassembled, cleaning and brushing as we go. We did this for all six hives. At dusk, I put a feeder onto each hive, containing prepared feed.
The upside? We put a super onto every hive a week later. The oilseed rape is just coming into flower locally, so not a moment too soon. It's no joke having rape honey set in the brood frames. The bees then can't move it, so it reduces the brood nest. That in turn increases the chance of swarming. And that is another thing they don't need any encouragement to do!

The fruit blossoms are beginning their procession.This is a bee on Cherry.
One of my passions is the genus Magnolia. I planted several in the first few years that we lived here. I only have two left. A Magnolia grandiflora, which has yet to flower, and this one, Magnolia soulangiana. Two years ago it had three flowers -which were finished by the frost before reaching flowering size. Last year, it was covered in buds. But again, they were blasted by the frost. This year I didn't bother to look, after the winter we had. Then I caught a flash of white a few days ago.The (small) tree was covered in these lovely blossoms. Some were slightly touched with frost damage, but what a sight, especially in the bright sunny mornings, with a pelucid blue sky as background. Joy and pleasure.
Best beloved and I are off to Wales, tomorrow. We will stay with his Godmother, who has recently moved house. Aunt M only lives forty minutes from Builth Wells, now. How lucky is that? I shall be meeting up with some of the Close Knit girls, and I have no doubt that we will all be spending. Wonderwool Wales, here we come.

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