Saturday, July 30, 2005

Clearer boards

I decided to bite the bullet and extract some honey before I go on hols. So today I put clearer boards onto the two main hives. The main difficulty here is lifting off the top two supers on each hive because they are (pleasingly) so heavy with honey they are nearly unliftable.

In the course of this I annoyed a few bees, but thats tough for them. Which brings me to... how many beekeepers feel affection for their bees? I do sometimes, but not usually when I'm working with them, because they're usually doing their best to sting me. Possibly this is due to my heavy-handedness: if I was better, they would be nicer.

BTW, for those who don't know, a clearer board is a crown board with holes for "bee escapes" in it. You put it under the supers you want to clear. The bees can then go one way (down) into the hives and so in theory when, two days later, you come to remove the supers they are clear of bees entirely. In practice I find that it works, but not 100%. Sometimes it works somewhat badly, in that there are still bees up there, but the poor dears, having been deprived of water for a few days, are in apoor state anyway. How long can a bee live without water I wonder.

The photo shows my gloves and suit, and in the background the ever-handy strimmer (or "weed whacker" as the more imaginative americans call them). No, I don't have 3 hands, I have a second pair of gloves, the first one having developed the odd hole, and beekeeping with duck tape stuck over holes in gloves is scary.


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