BASTARD WASPS

God, I hate wasps. One of my hives was being raided by them on Sunday and had just a few sad bees left – the silly sausages only went and swarmed in August so they just didn\’t have the numbers to fight off the wasps. Also they probably didn\’t get a new queen. May I say that most of the beekeeping books say bees don\’t swarm in August, but it\’s obvious the girls weren\’t reading them.
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This is a constant cause for complaint among beekeepers in the CBKA. There are all these great books about bees around, but the bees just won\’t do their homework and find out what they\’re supposed to do.
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I was very worried about my other hive too, but it turned out I was panicking unnecessarily. Today I went to look again with my incredibly patient bee mentor Mike. It turns out, they had lots of brood, plenty of stores and were vigorously guarding the hive – yay! Kill those evil bastards! Go bees, go!

Surprise festival

Slightly peeved (and hungover) I loaded up the car on Saturday with a ton of beekeeping stuff, quite a lot of honey cake and my wonderful folding table to go to Woodland Valley Farm for what I thought was just a country fair and a day of boredom.
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Far from it. We had avid listeners for beekeeping talks at our rather well-put-together stall (gazebo and information displays part-erected by yours truly with only a bit of whingeing about the bad design of the gazebo). Mike, my beekeeping mentor, stayed stoical and good-humoured despite my help. The free honeycake I was giving out may have helped.
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Lots of people are very interested and concerned about bees and beekeeping and several went away with information about beekeeping courses with the Cornwall Beekeepers Association. The kids gasped and thrilled to the horrific news that:
* all bees are girls
* except for the drones who are boys
* the queen lays about 1500 eggs a day at the peak laying season
* when a drone mates with her on a mating flight, he dies (happy).
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And then in the evening I bopped to Bands in the Barn, and wolfed down excellent barbecued sausages and salad and some very good home-brewed ale.
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No, I didn\’t do any coursework over the weekend. And no, I\’m not doing it now. I will. Honest.