Reasons to be cheerful


By Jon Parker,
22 November 2014.

Reasons to be cheerful

Our year 2014

Thank you for coming back to our blog and staying loyal to our product. We have had a very turbulent 2014. Jon suffered 3 heart attacks in Nov 2013 and that obviously took the wind out of our sales (excuse the pun) in terms of manpower. Molly aged 11 stood up to the mark and underwent an in house course in queen rearing and took charge of the actual grafting process. Her eyes are the best we have and so that made sense.

Why now?

Our Queens

This year saw us breeding lots of juicy healthy Buckfast queens and they were incredibly well received. Our advert in Bee Craft Magazine proved so popular that demand outstripped supply during the June gap, but we re-doubled our efforts and produced some belters late in the season. We found that Buckfasts are very loath to produce queen cells in queen right colonies but we kept adjusting the method until our success percentages were just right. Molly was able to graft up to 60 queens a session and we could just about keep up that battle rhythm.

New Apiary Called Spitfire

In April we stocked our new honey production apiary and called it Spitfire. This is not because we like aeroplanes, but it is situated in a field where the first Spitfire Mk VI crash landed after an engine failure. It was kept very secret during the war and is still hard to find references to it.

Spitfire

The new apiary is within mating range of our main breeding apiary and so we can only stock it with Buckfasts, however it gives a wonderful resource of big fat drones for the mating programme. Our honey production was bumper this year and is now a real but welcome problem in extraction. Our honey label came in on budget and so now the bottling task is also looking incredibly large.

Drifting

I bet a lot of you are saying to yourselves that all of the boxes in a neat row will cause drifting. Yes, it would, but as you may see from the next blog post, our boxes get painted different colours depending on when they were bought and introduced into service. This ends up with the stack being multi-coloured when a different year’s super is added. Each type of item gets a different colour dependent on the year of introduction, that allows us to replace them and also know how long they last in service. This year was a burgundy colour for brood boxes, last year it was seagrass green. It is early days for the material but we are very impressed with the Paynes product so far, although we would like some small modifications, but nothing we cannot sort on site.

Thank You For Your Concern

We would like to thank Peter Little of www.exmoorbeesandbeehives.co.uk for all of his kind support during Jon’s illness and advice on his method. We both have a dedication to providing the highest quality Buckfast queens possible and despite being in competition we realise the need for cooperation. This helps keep the genetic lines of sufficient quality for our customers but also the bees. We look forward to increased information flow and sharing of genetic material in 2015.

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