Monday, 28 June 2010

Bees and Books

Going to Australia and New Zealand in May took time from beekeeping, and we were back only for a week before leaving for New York to do some publicity for my Golding biography which was published there at the start of June. However we were able to extract the first harvest during that week, and on our return from New York I collected a new colony (on 6 frames) from Gloucestershire beekeeper Clive Jakeman ( a man who really knows his beecraft) and it is now housed in the hive that failed to survive the winter. Meanwhile the other two hives had been piling in honey from several nearby fields of field beans, and in the last week I have extracted 110 lbs of this - beautiful, dark, fragrant honey which it is so pleasurable to gloat over that it will be a bit of a pang to put it into jars and sell it. The total yield so far this year is 220 lbs, which is not as good as last year but OK considering it is from two hives not three. There seems to be a good deal of honey still left on both hives, thanks to the marvellous weather in the last week, but one of them, the smaller colony, now seems to be queenless. I'm hoping they swarmed while we were in New York and that the new queen has not started laying yet.