Our Beekeeping Year – 2022

Follow OBKA as we take you through our Beekeeping Year 2022

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a video tour of our Training Apiary and Bee garden

OBKA Training Apiary Honey Extraction Day – 06 August 2022

We keep bees for lots of reasons but I think I’m safe in saying that for many beekeepers the honey crop is an important ‘output’ of our beekeeping.

On 6th August Marlborough School kindly allowed us to use one of their room to extract all that lovely honey from the training apiary colonies. The evening of Thursday 4th August was an open event for Members where we put clearers on the colonies (and, as always, did a bit of housekeeping). Our SBI, Mark Lynch, was there for the open event and carried out an inspection of all the colonies.

Firstly some pictures of the honey extraction session on 06 August:

And some pictures from the Open session on 04 August:

All photos above credit Andy Pedley

We have some new views of the Training Apiary……..

View from above….

Apiary Day – Saturday 04 June 2022

Thanks to Andy Pedley’s (Apiary Manager) hard work we now have Apiary Days when members can turn up, help with some chores around the training apiary, and get to practise some beekeeping skills. On 4th June the skill was queen marking.

A Bee Inspector Calls – Saturday 30th April 2022

An Inspector inspects - a frame of brood. Photo credit Fiona Gibson

Our Training Apiary Manager, Andy Pedley, arranges for our Seasonal Bee Inspector, Mark Lynch, to visit annually to carry out a bee health inspection of the colonies in the Training Apiary. This year Andy had the great idea to combine this with a training session for members on the theme of ‘comb change’. Mark had agreed to demonstrate how to do a Shook Swarm and a Baily Comb change; I for one was keen to see this actually done as some of those diagrams in the books and pamphlets can be a bit, ahem, confusing.

We had 26 members come along to the workshop so a really good turn-out. And the weather was just perfect for the day, clear skies and very warm.

We have many pictures from the day so they are on a separate page here

Beginners Course 2022 – Apiary sessions start

After the Zoom theory sessions the apiary hands-on phase of the OBKA Beginners Course 2022 started on Tuesday 26th April. Apiary sessions are now Tue / Wed / Thu and Saturday’s with any one Group’s sessions being 2 weeks apart (to allow for all the students we have and so that we don’t open the hives in the Training Apiary every day as the bees wouldn’t like that!).

Beginners Class of ’22 visit to the Training Apiary – 12 March 2022

A special session was held at the Apiary for the Class of 22 – this year’s Introduction to bee keeping course. About 20 students attended, and learned how to make frames, and were “talked through” a hive by Peter Hawkins and Eric Perkins, though the weather was too cold to actually open a colony up.

It was also a great opportunity for the students to meet some of the tutors, and each other, and for many it was the first time that they’d got up close to a hive.

Training Apiary work day – Saturday 12 Feb 2022.

There were just 6 of us there this pm, and even though it was cold we checked and topped up the fondant in the hives, weighed the hives and looked at at the varroa boards, finding a few mites, some wax scales showing the bees are making wax, which they are probably using to cap brood in the cells, and we found several different several different pollens. Not photo’d is wax moth webbing, wax moth poo, and some bits of bee that suggest a mouse had got in one of the hives.

The colonies all seem healthy and strong, although it was far too cold and early in the season to give them a proper check.

The new Accessible Hive got it’s second coat of Danish Oil, and we cleaned off the bench and oiled that, special thanks to Nicole and young Eleanor.

The next session will be during half term week, so it can be a weekday. Vote on the link in the Members Area if you ‘d like to come and we’ll go for the time that suits the most responders, though bear in mind the session will be reliant on reasonable weather (not raining too much)!

Andy Pedley, Apiary Manager

Training Apiary work day Sun 30 January 2022 – New Long Deep Hive

We had a really good session at the apiary this morning … bright sunshine, though still cold. the new long deep hive was delivered – its part of a project to make bee keeping more accessible – its “chair height” and no lifting (the roof is on hinges and gas struts). we set it up as a bait hive and look forward to learning how to use it (we ve already thought of some tweaks). all the brood boxes and Supers are now Danish Oiled, the fence at the back is hopefully student proof, and the bees were flying as we left – accompanied by glorious birdsong.

Thanks to David, Eric, Peter, Martyn, Daniel, Laura, Adam, Jackie, — I bet I’ve forgotten someone!
Next session planned for 2 weeks time – probably 12th Feb, 2pm, but depends on the weather; we ‘ll be making / waxing frames, checking the fondant, weighing the hives, and who knows what else.

And a quick video tour of the colonies

Quick video review of the colonies at the OBKA Training Apiary

Training Apiary Update January 2022

There are currently 9 live colones at the Apiary, and they have all been treated for Varroa; sadly one colony died, and the “post mortem” suggested that they ‘d starved – despite having a gallon of syrup on top of them.

Most colonies were treated with Oxalic via “drizzling” but one by sublimating the Oxalic, courtesy of David Edwards.

The Accessible Hive has been delivered to Eric’s HOme and will be installed soon. We might need some muscle power to assist – its very big and heavy!

The Committee approved the Apiary Plan for 2022, and fortnightly sessions have commenced to manage the hives and put the apiary into tip top condition – they are publicised on the OBKA WhatsApp group.

Video tour of the OBKA Training Apiary and bee garden