Winter sales madness (almost)

Well the winter beekeeping sales are on here in the UK, so I’ve broken out the credit card.

Paynes and Thornes have some good deals on frames. I’ve stocked up on frames and wax for my new hive as I’m hoping to migrate from the standard national to the 12×14 frames. My existing hive is on standard national frames and I’ve really no plan this year to move it onto 12x14s. I’d rather wait until next year and do a comb change. My local club has a consensus that comb changes every few years are good for the health of the hive and swapping out the equipment allows you to maintain it.

I’ve bought another hive from the Nick Buttle’s company Peak Hives. Nick builds his hives, by hand, in a workshop in the Peak District. I’ve been very happy with his products and when one was damaged during delivery he replaced it no quibbles and even paid for the postage to return the old one – you don’t get that kind of service from many other mail order firms. In the past I’ve ordered assembled products but I’ve opted for a flat packed variety this year to give it a go building one. It doesn’t appear to be too difficult; I’ll post my attempt here.

Two poly nucs from Paynes finished off my winter shopping spree, poly-hives are new to me and I think nucs are good way to play with them.

My association Chairman told me the worst thing that can happen to a beek is running out of kit, hopefully this little spree means that won’t be an issue for me this season.

2013 Goals

My 2012 gaol was to establish my single colony and get it through the winter.  Although I won’t really know if I’ve achieved this until my first full inspection in the spring it seems to be going well. Today they were happy with some activity around the entrance and hefting the hive it had some good weight. Hefting it still somewhat of a mystery to me, I got my swarm late in the summer last year so I’ve yet to feel the weight of a full hive. I plan on hefting it regularly this year to get a better feel of what a full hive feels like.

One of my regrets last year was I didn’t feel as organised as I should have been. I only just managed to get my varroa treatment on in time and kept no hive records. Some of this I put down to my club not having a formal mentoring scheme but the vast majority of blame falls squarely on my poor organisational abilities. Although I don’t do new year’s resolutions I am going to set myself some achievable goals.

  1. Build up at least one more hive – I only have one hive, by the end of the year I want to have two. Hopefully from the same stock as my existing one as they are productive and gentle. This obviously assumes I achieve last year’s goal of getting my colony through the winter.
  2. Keep records – not better records, records full stop. Last year I had a single hive and didn’t see a need for it. Big mistake, this year I’m going to do this religiously.
  3. Study for the BBKA Basic Assessment – I may not take the exam but I am going to study the syllabus. I’ll be posting my notes here so more experienced people can correct my mistakes.

That’s three simple, achievable goals.