Who knew there was so much to bee-keeping? In his latest despatch, Brian the Beekeeper reports on the trials and tribulations of the Torridon bee colony in what has turned out to be a difficult summer.
After a promising start to the beekeeping season, it all went down hill in July thanks to very wet and cold weather. Any honey the bees had secured was eaten by them just to stay alive. The Torridon hive, along with another 80 that I own, have all had to be fed sugar syrup to keep the colonies going.
Summer is not over yet and all the wild flowers are later than normal coming into bloom. I wait anxiously for signs of the lime trees coming into flower. However Edinburgh’s trees are blooming and given the chance of some warmer weather, the bees will soon make up for lost time.
With the permission of the Torridon, I would like to take the hive on holiday to the heather moors and with a bit of luck and a few prayers, we might get some heather honey.
The hive was united with its new queen after I removed the queen mother and let her daughter reign over the colony. The new queen is in the older-looking of the two boxes (above) and by placing a sheet of newspaper between the two boxes, they will become one colony again. It takes them about 24 hours to eat their way through the paper in their efforts to kill each other. The problem is both colonies have their own distinct odour. However that 24 hours gives them time for their pheromones to mix together and become one colony again.