Is it autumn or summer? With the warm and dry sunny days that are predominating of late it is easy to become confused. However the bees are taking full advantage of the mild conditions and every colony is busy bringing in stores.

Watching the returning pollen laden foragers the vivid yellow catches the eye immediately, in all likelihood this will be from the ivy. Work at the apiary is that of cutting back the undergrowth and giving the storage shed another coat of wood preserver. Queen excluders have now been removed plus some unused supers. The next task will be to affix mouse guards to each hive.

We now have a 4 wheeled garden trolley (cage type) and this will make the transport of supers, crown boards and other items from shed to hives a comfortable operation. Previously we have resorted to the use of a wheel barrow, it did the job but the rough ground encountered from shed to hives did mean that pieces were prone to bounce out. Another useful purchase is 3 rigid plastic storage containers (large type) into these will go our drawn comb for winter storage; this is to protect them from mice and the dreaded Wax Moth! However eggs and developing larvae may already be in situ and unseen on the frames going into storage so a pad soaked in Acetic Acid will be added to each container and this treatment will stop eggs from hatching and larvae from maturing (Dead I Mean) failing to store your valuable drawn comb will cost you, so take heed.

Access to the storage shed still requires us to phone ahead for gates to be unlocked! We can walk through the gardens and get to the hives easily enough but supers, frames, crown boards etc., are all in the shed. On busy days it is all too easy for staff to forget us resulting in our abandoning the day’s inspection. Beekeeping is dominated by the weather and not the time! Let’s hope for common sense to one day prevail.

                                             Harold Williams.