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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years celebrations! I had a warm Christmas and new year which was a first for me, certainly not the same as being at home but it was nice anyway. New Years Eve I spent in Sydney which was amazing, and it was nice to have a few days holiday!

Firstly I’d like to say a massive thank you to all our customers and readers, I really appreciate the support that you’ve shown to us over the past year. Our beekeeping experiences have gone from strength to strength and we will be running even more courses this year, keep an eye out over the coming weeks for the dates to be published for this summer.

I’d also like to ask everybody reading if there is anything they want explaining, It can be any aspect of beekeeping, I’ll answer any questions and I’m happy to share the way I manage my bees if anyone wants to know about a specific area of beekeeping. Just send me an email to matthew@holthallapiary.co.uk and I will answer your questions in this blog.

My bees at home are going well, a lot now have fondant on, It seems that many people throughout the UK are finding their bees going through food a lot quicker that expected, If you’ve got bees and not checked them recently It may be worth hefting your hive. Hefting is simply lifting one end of the hive off the ground to gauge the weight. If you’re not sure or they feel light then I would add fondant as a precaution. Next year I’m hoping to be able to share with you the weights of our hives as they progress through the winter as I know hefting is something that requires a lot of practice.

Bees Eating through the fondant… and a pesky mouse has messed with the insulation!

Back in Australia it’s been another busy month, this month we have spent a lot of time working with queens. We have started to requeen all of our hives to ensure they are in the best possible shape for next year. We are producing around 100 queens a week at the moment. The queen cells we produce are moved into mating nucs, these are small colonies that allow queens to mate before we collect them and move them into the queen banks.

Mating Nucs all set out in lines

The mated queens once ready to be introduced into a hive are kept in a queen bank until needed. The queen bank can hold 100s of queens, queens can be ‘banked’ for up to a month so we can decide when we use them.

Queen Cages, each one contains one queen

The drought continues and we have had to move a few loads to more suitable locations. The lack of water is really starting to cause an issue with the trees flowering, they are no longer producing much nectar and so honey production is very limited. On some of our sites we’ve even had to start providing water, It’s really amazing just how much water 120 hives can consume in a day.

Bees land on floating mats to stop them from drowning

The good thing this week is that the smoke haze has moved from a lot of our area. Unfortunately for the people of New South Wales the fires are still just as bad, just luckily for us they are no longer as close. The haze lifting has revealed some amazing views from Dorrigo, one of the areas we have a few loads of bees.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog,

Matthew Ingram
Holt Hall Apiary

1 thought on “Happy New Year!

  1. Thank you Matthew, it is really interesting to hear about your trip.
    Happy New Year
    Ann

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