This morning I woke up with an itchy swollen forehead and it was a little more difficult to open my eyes than yesterday morning. Today we’re about to extract the honey that we collected.
Archive for September, 2009
Tuesday the 22nd started for me with three stings to the head as we went back out to the Apiaries to collect the honey that had been separated from the hives. I continue to get stung in situations where I think I’m not posing any threat to the bees, but I think I’m going to have to be a bit more cautious in future. The bees were also bothering Fraser, and as Tim doesn’t work with gloves he gets the most stings, but after twenty years of bee keeping they affect him the least. Tim assures us that when the weather gets warmer the bees temper cools down so hopefully before too long the bees will be happy to have us checking up on them making sure they’re happy, healthy and have plenty of space to move. At the end of the day we ended up with about four tonnes of honey.
Thursday and Friday we were into some serious bee keeping work. We went out to an Apiary near Yumali that has over one hundred hives where we had to lift the honey, giving space for the bees to fill up some more supers (hive boxes) with sweet sweet honey, and put clearer boards on under the honey boxes so that when we came back they’d be bee free. The Volkenburg boys were doing the same work at a newly acquired Apiary nearby. The bees had been working the nearby Canola crops and combined with the cool weather they weren’t too happy to have us opening up their homes to the elements. We all copped a few stings, I got mine before I was suited up. I’d read that swarming bees were quite non-aggressive so I went to check out a large swarm of bees hanging from a tree and was greeted by an angry bzzzzzz one: in the neck, bzzzzzz two: through the hair at the back of my head, bzzzzzz three: another in the neck. However it wasn’t all stings, Fraser and I had the treat for the first time of tasting fresh honey directly from the hive. Awesome.
Wednesday Tim took me along to the Pollination Symposium in Keith that was held for Lucerne growers and Bee keepers. Amongst getting to know some of the community including the Volkenburg brothers who’d be doing some work with us, it was interesting to gain some insight into a crop and an industry that I hadn’t given any thought to previously. Lucerne, also known as alfalfa needs the help of bees to be pollinated so the farmers and the Bee keepers have to work together for their mutual benefit.
Monday the 14th was my first day going out to visit some bee hives Tim and our work experience guy Fraser. Tim and Jude had been super busy with the Royal Adelaide Show the week before so my work mainly consisted of preparing hive boxes and setting honeycomb foundations in their frames, it was great to get out and actually see some bees doing their thing. There was no honey harvest involved, we’d just gone along to check that the bees were all healthy and happy for the start of spring.