January blues

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Well written in the week of the 'blue Monday' the darkest day of the year, and yes I survived it.

When one isn't busy with the bees ones thoughts always turn to the season ahead and what it might bring. Annoyingly, the day job has just got a lot more difficult with a big project on and a business relocation on the cards so I have to try and juggle everything to get that reopened on time, and have my boys far more than anticipated over the coming weekends (no bad thing) try and work a plan to do either the spring convention or Tradex, can't do both, and keep things ticking along at the apiaries ready for the new season.

I was disturbed to find a large fence down at one of my main apiaries. A quick check ensured nothing was amiss but it was clearly down to appalling driving/reversing on the part of the contractors working nearby, so I had to devote an hour or so re-bolting the Harras together and making it more sturdy by liberating some further along the yard to make it, hopefully, un-knock-downable. I'll know tomorrow as I'm popping by after a visit to another new potential apiary that is just over 2km away. Yes a bit close but it nicely covers an area north of Chippenham where a good variety of crops are planted along with trees and hedgerows.
The main task back at base has been to relocate a couple of sentry hives - that are now in the way and were swarms from the summer up to the top of the paddock to where I should have moved them last year. Amazing how much this has helped as they were in amongst a load of kit needing sorting out.
And speaking of sorting out - OMG - there at the back of the double garage as I had a 'move around' to put jars I wouldn't need out of the way I disturbed a pile of supers that were hiding 3 other stacks.
Full of honey
I really couldn't believe it. over 30 supers I had crammed into the space at some point, I'm thinking late summer, when I was racing around like a mad thing.
The bad news is that a lot will need to be melted down as it's set, but some of the frames were clearly still liquid. But having packed down the extractor they will all be heading to the large Api Melter starting tomorrow, to get them processed and more importantly, the frames re-waxed and ready,
While this goes on I'm also in the process of building hive and nuc stands out of a supply of re-purposed timber (from an aviary that was being dismantled and burned). Plenty of 4x4 posts and 1.5x3.5 rails to de-nail and creocote up once made.

The target is to have enough ready for around 50 additional colonies and a new design of double height nuc stands to make better use of the space I have.

While I was busy last weekend cutting and de-nailing I was chuffed to find my eldest (10) and youngest (9) chips off the old block had taken their mini-tool kit and made a passable table for their treehouse, in a low, Japanese style design, but completely out of their own design, no plans, and nailed well together. Made me a proud father !

This week's main challenge is to set and bait a load of traps for Rattus that has moved in under the poly tunnel. Those, along with some targeted pest control from a pal should hopefully sort them out.

Enjoy the rest of January and I hope your colonies are surviving the snow.

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