Synopsis : Three short(ish) related topics; the spring honey harvest, queen rearing without grafting (the Hopkins method) and a brief mention of swarm control. And, if that wasn’t enough, a bonus discussion on keeping virgin queens in an incubator.
I started writing this post at sunset on the longest day of the year. In my part of Scotland it’s light enough to work outside from about 3:30 am until 11:30 pm which means you can get a lot done … if you have the energy and distant, deaf or understanding neighbours.
With the good weather we’ve had for the last 2-3 weeks the bees have been out well before I’m drinking my morning coffee and don’t stop until after my evening glass of Barolo.
In my experience, some of the earliest to start are the scout bees that appear at bait hives before foragers are really busy. Some might even stay overnight, though perhaps these are scouts ‘lost’ from a swarm that had decided to occupy a different nest site 1.
It’s lucky the days are so long as this is the busiest time of the year for beekeeping … at least for my beekeeping.
I am, as the saying goes, ”running around like a headless chicken”.
Rather than write an in depth (well researched 2 ) post on an esoteric aspect of the coxa and trochanter of Apis mellifera scutellata or virus replication in drones (though I’d strongly recommend readers check out our latest paper on this topic, published today) I thought I’d write a few notes on three practical beekeeping topics that have been entertaining me recently.
I can’t promise something for everyone, or even anyone, and inevitably the focus will be on the trilogy of queen rearing, swarm control and the honey harvest.
If you’re a beekeeper and haven’t been busy with these three things over the last few weeks then either something has gone awry with your season … or you live in New Zealand.