when to take off the heather?

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preyingmantos 

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what date are the heather go-ers taking their bees off the moors? when does the nector flow stop? with this ridge of high pressure in control i want to keep them there as long as possible! thanks :)
 

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Depends entirely on weather and location. If you can give a hint where yours are others may be able to help. But the best clue is to visit them on a sunny day and see if they are still working the heather. I have seen distinct "bee lines" of flying bees all heading off to the same area of heather. If they are all hanging round the entrance the flow has probably finished - or not started!

Check also for presence of heather honey in hive. Don't leave them too long or they'll start eating it.
 

preyingmantos 

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derbyshire and wales, near builth wells (just over the border from hereford)...

... actually the areas we've got are pretty weak, but being from near oxford its quite a way to the good areas, like in scotland!

what is a typical aveage for a heather crop, i had no idea whether to put 1, 2 or even 3 supers on top of them. i gambled on 2-3 but think i went a bit excessive! beautifully drawn comb though so that should help!
 

Poly Hive 

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If I had bees on the heather, and I am judging by having just driven through the Highlands, and Lowlands, and the Derbyshire Peaks, I would be taking my bees home now.

The heather is still quite bonny but I fear the chance of a flow is past now.

As for supering, I would give two at most unless at a visit you see you need more.

PH
 
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preyingmantos 

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as for visiting, it takes me 2 hours drive and a tank of petrol so thats not a option unfortunately. are you sure? if the hills are still pink and its hot out there surely they stand a better chance of producing than down south where theres nothing out at all?

last year i took them off about the 20th september... and had a megre 16pounds per hive (barely worth the petrol and time) the weak summer build up and the rubbish weather i put it down to but perhaps im leaving them on there for to long (it still looked pretty pink though even lateish september)... thanks for the advice :)
 

Poly Hive 

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I have been on the heather for some 20 years.

I am sure. I would take mine off now.

A tank of petrol? And two hours. Not sure what your time is worth but a petrol tank is some £60?

A national super of Heather is worth some £150. Do your own sums.

PH
 

jezd 

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was that 16lb per hive all fully capped too?
 

preyingmantos 

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PH advice taken on board, ill have a drive up in the next few days. just pretty depressing how much work it was to take 90 hives up there (from the 12th of august), and in the mean time have cold, rainy conditions. and only now are we getting sun shine though... still thats bee keeping i guess..

it was capped jezd
 

Hivemaker. 

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Most of the ling has gone over now on exmoor,but it started flowering in the second week of july. Hope you took your bee's to the heather with plenty of stores in reserve.
 

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probably no help but the heather here on the clayburrows only started flowering a couple of weeks ago:.) Should run up nicely to the start of the ivy.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Never had much honey from ling during september around here....even when it has been in full flower still.
 

Poly Hive 

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Heather is very deceptive. Just because it looks in flower is no gurantee of a flow.

Heather flows tend in my experience to be much earlier than many expect and so they miss it. Forget 12/8, often touted as be there for.... instead be there for 21/7 then you will catch it as definitely as I can tell you.

It may flow for two weeks, it may not flow at all, but at this time.... I would bet the farm it has no hope at all.

PH (whistling homeward bound.... lol)
 

preyingmantos 

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looks like ive completely missed the boat here then. so this widly touted 12th of august is completely rubbish then and the flow, could in fact be over by the time i even got there!

when i went to wales at the end of august, brambles, willow hurb, clover was still flowering everywhere (and the spot where i keep my hives, thistles everywhere!)

i didnt want to keep the hives there (even though the ling was out) because i didnt want a summer honey to be mixed with the ling....

do you not have this problem PH, the bees going for something other than the ling, or a bit of both?

Also, have you any idea what conditions you need for this flow?
 

Hivemaker. 

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If you take your hives to the heather moors there is nothing else,thats the whole idea of it.
 

preyingmantos 

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which is fine if you can find suitable land surrounded by heather. im not sure on the law or even who to ask to plant 50 odd hives in the middle of common land. the place i found is on someones farm, at least that way theres less chance of them being stolen or some ***** toppling them over.
 

Poly Hive 

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Can we lay this one to rest please once and for all.

Heather. You need a properly managed heather moor for real Ling take. Find the moor, and ask the game keeper.

A wee patch of ling/bell here and there is no use at all.

When I talk about going to the heather I mean a grouse moor and I am located so there are corries and slopes facing in four directions so there is every chance one will flow.

I have said this times and say again the 12th of August is a piece of nonsense.

I have been at the Aberdeen honey show, some 450 members please note, and the moan is no heather. I had a ton in the honey house. For precisely the above reason, I was there in time, namely 21st of July or even earlier depending on my offshore schedule.

The bees need the right situation for a good chance. Shelter... denoted by bracken, a Bee Farmer told me Juniper is a good sign, and burnt strips. Why?

Burning produces young heather for the grouse chicks, and regardless of blood sport views, young heather produces the best flows. years two and three give the best.

Hope this helps.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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Burning is the most important bit of all,without burning all you have is stragly heather bushes, that are no good for anything much,most of the moorland round here gets burnt....used to take part in this years ago.
 

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Certainly agree that you need them on the heather moors at the end of July, but this year in my area we were back to fairly late flowering. It was in full flower on 12th August, but only just.

I'll not bring mine back for at least a week yet, maybe two. The two colonies up there were not the strongest and so I'm not surprised that any honey so far has gone into the brood box. However this is a much better week for them.

G.
 

Poly Hive 

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A pint says you are wasting time Gavin. I saw the west highlands and Perthshire... going over, browning off. Get them home and feed.

PH
 

gavin 

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You're on! Maybe I'm being over-optimistic, but the heather is late this year and the weather has turned nice.

I saw some terrible heather on Sunday at the W end of the Ochils where two associations were trying to have their heather picnic in a cold strong wind. Big brown patches looking very like heather beetle damage. The heather in Glen Isla where my bees are is much healthier.

G.
 
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