I tell you, it’s all getting serious down at the beekeeping course this week. There was a flurry of pens out, jotting down fondant and sugar syrup cocktail recipes. One part this to two parts that. Shaken, but not stirred. If bees ever went on match.com, I think the quality of the fondant might be one of the essential criteria.
Truthfully, the latest bit of learning was regarding a typical beekeeping year. When and how to extract honey, without leaving insufficient food for the wintering. How to decide if the colony has honey reserves, (by intuitive feeling of the hives heaviness apparently), and when to dose them up with fondant to eke out the famine months. When to not collect heather honey (viscous jelly mess) and let them sup on ivy instead. When to not disturb the bees for months, and when to check every 10 days. How to keep a mouse out, or deter a determined woodpecker. How to stop wasps stealing your honey. How to stop the bees swarming, and how to get them back if they do.
Here was me thinking I was pretty up to speed with caring for a small, vulnerable, slightly fuzzy little creature (Tiddler). Bee husbandry is looking increasingly like a whole new ball game. I may be beginning to loosen the old apron strings from Tiddler, but think I might be stepping, nay jumping, into a ‘baby replacement’ situation if I am to nurture a successful hive once we get settled in Bulgaria. I wonder if you can ring up an Apis version of a health visitor to come and offer advice and fill in a little red book. Yes, weight, length, head size, ability to latch on etc., but for the bees. Sounds good to me.