Sunday, November 8, 2009

Irish Honey Show

The County Dublin Beekeepers Association run a honey show every year. There are stands
for honey, beekeeping equipment, cakes and tea and various tatty knick knacks. Well the divining stuff was tat at least. The main star of the show is the bee product competition though

The categories to be judged include beeswax candles, honey based cakes, combs of honey, meads and most importantly honey. Watching the judging of the honey is fascinating.

The criteria include pollen in the honey, bubbles in the honey caused by incorrect pouring, weight, viscosity, taste and colour. Water content as measured by a refractometer. Honey should have a water content of about 17%, if it reaches above 20% it usually starts to ferment. The whole judging process is fascinating so if you ever get a chance to observe it you should.

I entered a dry mead made by Laura in the competition but she did not win. The judges find appearance very important so in future we will have to use the regulation bottles and stoppers.

I finally got a beekeeping suit. So I can stop constantly borrowing them. It is a Bj Sherriff suit bought from Ben Harden. I managed to terrify my wife this morning by sneaking up on her in it, nice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TopBar Hive

I built a top bar hive last Saturday. I will post soon with a full description of the build

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Illegal urban beekeepers

There is a great video here of some horribly enthusiastic New York beekeepers here.

They don't wear beesuits which seems a bit too trusting to me.

Also on the new beekeeping vibe is this article in the gaurdian. "New plastic hive promises affordable beekeeping". given that this hive costs over 400 pounds that is pretty expensive.

I still plan to go with the top bar hive. Which should cost under 50 euro. It seems Omlet make really cool really expensive huts for hobby farmers. Which is cool and all but I think old school wood and nails is preferable to plastic. Which do you think is cooler a hacked Ikea coop or the omlet one that costs 600 euro?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summertime and the bees are swarming

This is a photo from my brothers in law's back garden. Nice hive of bees there. I am not sure it would be wise to capture them and bring them up to Dublin so I will leave them be. Unwise because Irish beekeepers are being careful moving beehives around at the moment as it can spread bee diseases. Swarming bees are not usually hostile though some people do freak out when the see them.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bumblebees in Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle is great this year. I think it makes the best honey. Honey from Ling heather tends to win most of the awards though. You rarely find honeys from a particular crop on sale in Ireland. If you ever get a chance to buy or even try them you should though.

In truth no honey is entirely from one crop. Bees are not monophagic and will deliberately vary their diet. So even if a crop is as plentiful as honeysuckle is this year honey will not be entirely made from nectar from a single plant.

More pictures of may flowers and bees here

Bumblebee in Buttercups

Just saw this bee outside my office window working away.

Buttercups look very different to bees. If you see one in UV as this site shows the buttercup looks very different

Friday, May 29, 2009

ELECTION POSTERS: guerilla gardening

Just saw this guy come up with a guerrilla gardening use for election posters.
The description is here. You sir are a genius.