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John the BeeMan's Blog - mid July 2014 - Harvesting, Cut Comb & Kennet Beekeepers

Around my Apiaries in early July

I'm still only checking supers and space for honey storage which seems to be vital at the moment.   Empty supers put on 9 days ago are virtually full.   I took off 3 supers from the Cemetery hives and 4 from Murphyís and extracted about 170lbs last week and bottled 144 x 8oz jars as a starter!   I have already sent 60lbs to the local ice cream parlour.   My extraction so far totals nearly 300lbs and judging by my recent inspection there is still plenty to come.

Cappings fresh off the frame, ready for draining
Bottling in progress, open jars covered, prior to lids on
Cappings fresh off the frame, ready for draining
Bottling in progress, open jars covered, prior to lids on

Iíve just harvested 4 wonderfully full frames on unwired, thin foundation and sliced them up for 'cut comb'.   The latest comb containers are an improvement, with integral lids that fit well.   I forgot to photograph the slicing technique, but here is the result:

Individual container
27 cut combs labelled and priced
Individual container
27 cut combs labelled and priced

This is the first year that I have had success with these for some time.   Itís important to position these frames centrally and in the second super.   If immediately above the queen excluder, the bees often fill some cells with pollen!

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Kennet Beekeepers Association

I was invited by their Chairman, Robert Carpenter Turner, to give a talk on 'Beeswax' and to make a guest appearance at their apiary meeting.   It was also a great excuse to visit my old friend, our past Chairman who moved to Wiltshire 7 years ago and is a seasonal 'Bee Inspector' for the area.

I was able to discuss how bees make and use wax, how we harvest it and then the cleaning via a solar wax extractor and then through a fine filter in the oven.   Apart from my powerpoint display, I had samples of most aspects from cappings to squeaky clean, exhibition quality beewax for candles and polish, and even the dreaded wax block.

If you donít want to go this far as it is very time consuming, you can do the fist process in a solar extractor and exchange the semi-clean beeswax for foundation with companies such a Thornes.   Itís such a precious product, it is a shame to waste it.

Load of dirty wax, wild comb etc
Squeaky clean wax
Load of dirty wax, wild comb etc
Squeaky clean wax
Solar wax extractor melting the wax
Kennet Beekeepers Apiary in an old farm yard
2 'Past Chairmen' of North London Beekeepers

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Forage

I am at a loss as to what the bees are filling their combs with?   Whatever it is, there seems to be plenty around.   The only source that I know about is the Sweet Chestnut and Russian Vine, and there are not many of these about.   Maybe itís privet?


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