In the Apiary
Winter time in the apiary
Before we run out of sunny days as winter approaches, we like to go through each hive, checking hive health and as we do we check that all our boxes are in good order, replacing any damaged boxes.
We also take off any excess honey boxes, but leaving plenty of honey and pollen stores for the bees to eat through winter. While it is easier for the hive to keep warm in a smaller space, it is also important to keep enough honey & pollen for the bees to get them through till spring. During winter bees stay inside their hive if it is raining or below 17C (but then I tend to be a bit the same during winter). Last year was unseasonably wet, so much so that Spring didn't happen until October, so we try and be mindful of that and make sure the bees have enough supplies to keep them going until then.
While our bees are tucked in for the coming winter, its time for us to catch up on some of the jobs we don't get time to do. Winter is the perfect time to build new boxes and frames and boy has Tony had a pile or two of frames, happening every day this week.
It takes a bit to put a frame together, each frame is nailed and glued in each corner, stapled on the sides and wire run across the frame to rest the beeswax foundation sheet on. And then for every 8 frames we need a new box.
So once Tony has a pile of frames, he then starts nailing boxes together, each box has 44 nails holding it together. Then we stack the frames into the boxes on pallets, so the frames don't warp. Then when the nailing is finished we will wax dip the boxes and they are then ready to put onto hives in the spring time.
Our Hilltops Honey stall at CPC's Psychic Expo held at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, from 8 - 10 July 2016.
What a crazy busy three days Kelsey and I had in Wollongong.
We had an awesome time sharing our passion of all things bees & honey with so many lovely people.
It's always humbling to get so much positive feedback from everyone who stopped to try our products.
Summer time sees our bees back in the forest areas and mountains, such a lovely place to visit.
Shades of Beeswax
Some of the different shades of natural Beeswax we have at the moment. The colour depends on the available nectar flow.
Bees that are 12-18 days old are physiologically responsible for producing beeswax scales (each the size of a pinhead).
It takes about 800,000 scales to produce 450gm of beeswax.
To make the 450gm of beeswax the bees must visit about 17 million flowers gathering nectar to make 3.8kg of honey, which requires flying about 753,170km (approximately to the moon and back).
Spring is crop pollination time
For some, a paddock of Canola is a glorious sight, the bright yellow flowers producing blocks of colour to our spring landscapes, while for others it marks the beginning of the hay fever season.
Canola a valuable oil-producing crop which is pollinated by bees.
The bees produce a honey from it that is light in colour, but it granulates very quickly.
Australian Honey Shortage
Australia is currently in the grip of a honey drought. Over the last year the impact of heatwaves, bushfires and drought has escalated, leaving many of our beekeepers with production losses.
It's hard times like these that are a good opportunity to reflect on how important bees and Australian beekeepers are to the broader pollination of our food supply.
Brooke - " Wonderful local products from a wonderful local family! Delicious honey and carefully crafted products."