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Early Summer with Moy Valley Bees

posted May 27, 2019, 3:10 PM by Helen Mooney   [ updated May 27, 2019, 3:16 PM ]

Early summer activities include training beginners in County Mayo (Ballina & Ballyhaunis) and examining in Ballina for the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (FIBKA) beginners exam.   We had 27 beginners in Ballina and even more than that in Ballyhaunis, altough we did not conduct the apiary training there.

In addition, we have had to curtail the swarming impulse in over 30 colonies, and we are not finished yet.  This year, swarm cells appeared in the second week in May in strong colonies, but there is not an abundance of drones, so we are staggering our queen rearing activities to suit. 

The photograph shows the preparation of a double brood box in order to rear queens using a Cloake board.  We can take you through this method if you are interested, just get in touch! 

We just completed our first queen rearing workshop in the Ballyhaunis club, where we took a small and very keen group through everything from colony appraisal (including on site disease diagnosis - diseased colonies do not make good cell raisers nor is there much point using them as breeder material) to several methods of producing suitable larvae to be reared on as queens (grafting, jenter/nicot, Hopkins etc.)

The hawthorn flow is well and truly over, and we feel very fortunate to have gathered a modest crop of this very special honey. Sycamore provided a long standing back-up and the blackberry and white clover are not far off flowering and this makes up our main nectar flow of the year.

For the moment, all that remains is to be patient whilst our newly emerged queens go out on their mating flights and begin to lay, so that we can fulfill our nuc orders,  which were logged on the appropriate link on this website.  We continue to use every spare moment to make brood frames and super frames.  There is nothing quite like adding clean new frames to rejuvenate a colony in late Spring.  The workers draw it out immediately and within 5 days there may well be slabs of hatched larvae - these will eventually grow into your main summer flow foragers, so the more of these you have, the better able a colony is to take advantage of the main summer nectar flow.
Happy beekeeping and watch the chalkbrood and Varroa levels as ever.