After all the drama of what I like to think of as the Wars of Succession, things have settled down a bit. There is new brood on the way and there is even a small amount of honey in the super. Not a lot of honey, mind – I suspect there will be enough to fill a couple of jars at most – but considering everything that’s happened, it’s a couple of jars more than I was anticipating. To put this into perspective, a full super can usually hold 30lb of honey.
Given that I only have two or three frames’ worth of the stuff to extract, it isn’t going to be worth investing in or borrowing some of the super-cool centrifuge equipment that I was eyeing up. In fact, my beekeeping friends (who are hardcore – they have about 400lb worth of honey stacked up in their hall) suggested to me that I might be better off just cutting the cells open with a knife and letting it all drain out into a sieve. So thats’ what I’m going to do. There’s every chance I’ll still manage to get every single work surface in the kitchen covered in stickiness, but at least I won’t have to spend a day cleaning out the equipment as well.
One good thing has come out of this week, though. I have finally worked out how to keep my smoker alight. What I did was listen to what one of my other beekeeping friends was saying, and use hessian sacking as my fuel. As it happens, one of our neighbours was getting rid of a whole load of said sacks, and I now have a pretty much endless supply.
And it’s brilliant! Light it before you go near the hive and it’ll still be smoking away long after you’ve finished. In fact, the biggest problem is putting the damn thing out. This is really important, because ever since the new queen took over, my bees have been significantly more aggressive. Dunno if it’s the time of year or just the new regime, but they really do seem to be going for me. They tend to escort me off the premises when I’ve finished too.
The next thing I have to do is borrow a rapid clearer board which basically acts as a one-way valve to clear the super of bees before I take it away to be harvested. I’ll let you know how this goes in due course.