Going to Tampere on Tuesday (flathunting for Stefan) and will stop at Mesimestari to buy more frames, trays, pots and jars etc etc. Have never been to their outlet so am looking forward to browsing around.
The honey boxes we ordered arrived and Peter spent every evening last week painting them.
We have added new Farrar boxes (10 frames in each) to all the hives. In the process, Peter was able to confirm that there is a queen in each of the hives in Espoo.
The raspberries are flowering, we have masses of them throughout our forest and through the neighbouring forests. Raspberries cover the ground in forests that have been cleared, such as our back forest that was "cleared" during the Boxing Day storm in 2011.
Last year we cleared the Cuckoo forest in Rosendal so we can expect that area to be covered in raspberry within a year or two. We only have one hive up there at the moment but it's doing really well.
Plenty for the bees to forage on this time of year. The ground is covered with clover.
Not a good idea to walk around barefoot though.
Peter added a Farrar box with ten frames to each of the hives. We already have two boxes of honey frames in some of the hives (including the one in Rosendal).
Now we REALLY need to go and buy some new boxes, we have used up all we have. We did a quick calculation that we may harvest double the amount of honey we had last year...
So, as I explained before, there is a network of Finnish hives which are weighed every 2-3 days and the data is published online. The Lohja hive is the nearest to our own apiary in Raseborg. A distinct upward trend in the curve can now be seen (very similar to the same period last year) and this means we have to start loading honey boxes onto the top of the stacks. The only problem is that we don't have enough Farrar boxes so we need to drive up to Tampere (as soon as possible) to stock up. We do have plenty of frames though (Thomas did a great job assembling them). We will probably have to add one Farrar box (which contains ten frames)to each hive at least once a week.
PS: I've added a green "Vaakapesa" button to the top of this page which takes you straight to the SML weigh-in website.
We have fresh brood in all four hives now (so active queens) and P has installed a proper base in the latest swarm hive so it is now an independent hive. This brings our total to 12. If we can split three of them we will have 15 which means next year we can claim an EU subsidy (approx 15€ for each hive) unless they move the goalposts (which is what happened with the sheep!)
Sugar is 85 cents/kilo in Prisma. That's a good price (we paid 1,05€ last summer) so we ought to buy up a load (approx 300 kgs) for the autumn as they will need to be fed after we harvest the honey.
We're stacking up the boxes in Pojo but there is a lull in the foraging I guess as the dandelions and the apple blossom are over. The lingonberries are apparently in bloom and we have blueberries in bloom too but not in massive quantities.
I did notice that the Juhannus rose (a white shrub rose which should bloom for Midsummer) is at least two weeks ahead of schedule and is starting to bloom now. It will be all over by Juhannus, Hopefully the raspberries will flower soon.
The Espoo hives are at it again. Another swarm mid-week and Peter had to don his spacesuit and collect them all from the neighbour's hedge. It seems likely that the new queens have hatched and either left the hive or pushed out the old queen. Several empty queen cups though.
At least the swarm was at ground level this time so there was no need to resort to ropes and ladders! Here they are neatly wrapped around a thuja conifer.
It was an opportunity to inspect the hives again and Peter combined two of them, he also redistributed some of the brood to balance the hives. It seems that we have laying queens in all three of the Espoo hives now.