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It's raining, it's Flowing... honey harvest in the rain with Cedar

It’s not a great idea to inspect your hive in the rain (tends to make your colony a bit cranky) - but an unexpected downpour needn’t stop you from harvesting your honey, if it’s ready :slight_smile:

Cedar does exactly that in this week’s FaceBook Live Q & A (recording below) while discussing aggressive bees, winter prep, and honey density…

Check it out :slight_smile:

Transcript here:

Are your colonies aggressive? Sweet tempered? What annoys them? What would be your number one tip for newbees with cranky bees?

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A few weeks into my first colony. They are super sweet, have yet to come at me for any reasons. :crossed_fingers: they stay that way. They get a lot a FaceTime with me staring at the entrance watching them go. I suggest finding some Italian bees if they are all similar in disposition.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?! Great that you have a sweet hive Freddie. Yes Italian bees are a preferred subspecies partly due to their (usually) agreeable temperament. Carniolan are another subspecies bred to be fairly non-aggressive. We have both at our office, along with Russians which can sometimes be a little more aggressive, but are also very hardy.

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Absolutely! :100: love seeing all the different goings on. Best parts of my day.

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Cedar said that some remove the excluder in the winter because the Queen doesn’t lay in the cold times and the workers need to cluster above and she would otherwise lose their warmth. Living in Portugal, where the climate is very moderate, can I just leave the excluder in place (I am worried that she may continue to lay)?

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My bees are descendants of some ‘survivor mutts’ I got from a local beek three years ago. They range from yellow to mostly black in color. They seem to have a pretty rigorous grooming regime and formidable corps of guards 🥷. They get cranky after inspections, during heat waves, before storms, and when queenless. These all seem reasonable to me, but a couple of my family members have trouble recognizing that this many reasons is not the same as “all the bloody time” :joy:. I find it interesting that these are the same family members whose hair is dark and thick, and who often like to wear black clothes :thinking:

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My queen lays year round too, but rather than leave the excluder in place, I take the Flow super off after the last harvest of the season. This has the additional benefit of depriving the bees of an opportunity to put propolis in the Flow frames, which completely gums up the mechanism before the next harvest. :wink:

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Hi John, Yes in a moderate climate that should be fine (and preferable) as long as you have a good nectar flow as well.

Good caveat. In Portugal, he won’t… :wink:

We have a family home in southern France, which has a similar climate, and the bees of our friends have a nectar dearth there over winter.

Ahh thanks Dawn (and how lovely!) - so John that is something to weigh up and worth chatting with your nearest beekeeping club about as well.

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Thanks for both the replies. Interesting, because we have Eucalyptus, Ivy and a forest behind the house which comes out in full yellow bloom during Nov-Feb, so I really dont think we have a winter dirth here. I will stand ready but I don’t think they’ll be wanting for nectar over winter - my first hive, which was a victim of varroa (hard first season lesson), was foraging until the end

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Hi John,
Nectar flow is definitely very regional and can vary even within a few kilometres, so as you’ve just demonstrated, local beekeeping knowledge and your own observations are always the most reliable in terms of taking into account your particular local conditions :slight_smile:
It’s great that you have Eucalyptus blooming through winter (actually, I remember noticing a lot of them when I was lucky enough to spend my maternity leave in Portugal a couple of years back - I was surprised to see them in abundance as have always considered these to be a quintessentially Australian tree!)
Ivy can be more problematic as it is thixotropic, which means that it does not flow easily without agitation and can tend to gum up the Flow frames. But other nectar sources in the area will help to mitigate this problem - it’s unusual for bees to forage only on Ivy in the presence of other nectar sources. However, please feel free to email the team for support if you find the ivy honey causes any issues (info@honeyflow.com).
If you can leave your queen excluder on all year and you have a good flow year round that’s all great news for your bees. Looking forward to hearing how they fare through winter John - keep us posted :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the reply - yea, I read about that once (the Ivy). I will just hope that it doesn’t perform that negatively!
Cheers, and I will definitely keep you in the loop!
Yes, we have the gum trees everywhere - part of the reason why we had so many deadly forest fires a few years ago - that and almost zero forest maintenance

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Eucalypts are for sure! But they grow here in the US too - on the West Coast.

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Hi Eva, good to know you have them too. I was led to believe that they suck up all the water everywhere (the Eucalyptus) but since I read about their many amazing properties, and the fact that bees also liked their flowers, I have been converted. I wont plant them but I have 3 trees in my garden and I noticed the bees took a great interest in the flowers (which I had never noticed until my decision to keep bees). I also read that Mussolini planted Eucalyptus all over the Island of Sardinia in order to cure their malaria problem…and it worked (I think it was Sardinia, and 'mozzies 'don’t like the smell) By the way, my photo looks a bit odd - like some king of weird growth on my nose, but it is a bumble bee. I have never seen so many different species of bumblebee in one place and I have tried to identify at least 4 of them without success. I just love all things bee-like and we have an unbelievable variety here

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The old “Apis Wartus” :wink:

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Hi again
I have been doing a lot of studying of the local area and we do have flowering all year - a little slack during mid summer but some varieties are blooming for the second time since March. The forest out the back is full of cork and Acacia mimosa (the yellow flowers). I’ve heard they make incredible honey and, indeed, the bees love the flowers. It’s just a shame that we have these invasive species of plants like Eucalyptus and Acacia Mimosa that came from the land of the flow hive…and are now taking over everything. Perhaps it was meant to bee. I’m a little torn but very happy for them anyway. I have a house in SA which has a tree which was originally from Brazil. I have never seen anything like that tree for attracting bees and, in fact, my beach house has been a ‘hive’ for over 60 years now. Long before we had tried to get rid of the bees but have since come to accept them and we co-exist . The house actually looks like a huge flow hive and they live somewhere in the roof. No one has ever been stung, to my knowledge) and this one huge tree seems to keep them very happy. Again, it should never really have been planted and SA, like us, suffer from introduced species (mainly from Aus). Their Fynbos, however, is something of a world heritage as far as I’m concerned, and really needs to be protected.

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