Bee keeping at Ballybroom

Broom (Cytisus spp) seems to have no value to bees- at least through spring flowering. The Escholchia- One day poppy or Californian poppy in river bed- no value to bees.
Bees are flying out to John’s place- assume it is the dryland paddocks with lots of clover that is drawing the bees.
A great spring, with many warm days.
The very earliest (blue) vipers bugloss flowers (not blue borage) – just appearing. This is a major flowering plant in our river bed.
Lovely day, smell of honey in the air around bee hive. Lots of pollen coming in. Probably too much.
Lovely fine day, spring willow nectar (honey) coming in. CM4 willow attracting a few bees. Kinyuinagi all over- finished flowering. Main attraction after frost today was crack willow next to hive and broom and gorse in the river bed. I guess dandelion in John’s paddock will be helpful also.
Went through hive twice. Couldn’t find queen. Not enough eggs for my liking. But no real sign they are keen to swarm. They were happy, not roaring.
Took out a couple of rubbish frames, put above excluder, to remove entirely, put one good empty frame into top of brood nest. Hope to see lots of eggs there in a week. There is plenty of room for renovation of frames etc. Some frames pollen clogged, but plenty of honey in hive. Top box is very heavy still.
New queen excluder on, and new box, so we are in process of renovating hive to bring it up to standard.
Continuing good weather for bees- a few calm days with bees working what seems to be a reasonable flow off the crack willow on neighbours.
Put an empty box on hive, just above excluder, with a full box of honey above. Bees roaring. I hope that doesn’t mean queenless. Didn’t disturb them as I had seen a queen just a couple of weeks ago.
(Mike’s bees preparing to swarm and Mike hived a swarm on 6/10/2010).
Cherry in full flower.
Hawera plum finished, black boy and golden queen full flower to finishing flowering.
Apples coming into full flower.
Pear in full flower.
We could do with rain, after some days of hard cold wind- norwest. The wind kept frosts at bay.
last two nights, frost, wtih auto sprinklers working very well. Small sprinklers use water very sparingly, but manage a 5 m radius circle. Great.

I love bee keeping. Years ago, before I got bothered by serious allergies I loved the intricacies of bees- the smell of new nectar in the spring and summer.
Flowering of trees etc was an important issue.
We are planting Eucalyptus viminalis and blue gum (E. globulus) to provide extra nectar.
We bought our hive from Alan Brown a couple of weeks ago, so today was my first look at what we have. Three boxes- with top box pretty well full of honey. Great. two boxes of bees were pretty chocker- so must be very close to swarming. We need to provide some space. The queen looked good.
Sure was a positive start!

The willows CM4 and Kinyuinagi seem worth planting- they sure look to feed bees- but surprise surprise, the bees are not interested. There is obviously enough crack willow on neighbours to keep them very happy. The CM4 appears to be later flowering and larger pussy willow style flowers. The black basket willow also flowers well, at this time of year and is very like a pussy willow. As of 28 Sep 2010 the hive had new nectar in it- so that is most likely coming off willow presently. Lots of pollen- from gorse/broom.

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