Half way through November and it has to be said, the weather so far has been what can only be described as changeable. We’ve had days of torrential rain followed by days of intermittent sunshine, some more akin to early Summer than late Autumn. We’ve had our first flurry of snow and there’s a thin layer of frost adorning the parked cars most mornings. Today, by comparison, is beautiful. There’s hardly a cloud to be seen and the sun is very much in evidence and I shall be off to see my bees shortly. Even though there was quite a brisk frost this morning, I’m fully expecting to see plenty of flying bees in evidence. There’s not very much to be done around the apiary at this time of year other than making sure everything is secure. Like me, you should have finished feeding some time ago and your mouse guards should by now, be on. If you over-winter your hives with floor slides in and some form of woodpecker protection, then this should also have been sorted by now. Even though I’m happy in my own mind that all of the colonies are going into Winter with sufficient stores, I have still left them each with a block of candy just to be on the safe side. My local Baker kindly supplies me with fondant for ten pounds a box which is not only good value, in my opinion, it saves me an awful lot of messing about making my own and one box is enough tor each colony to get a generous portion. When I first started using candy as a winter supplement, I used to put it on a disused plastic margarine lid or similar placed above the brood frames. This works well enough but apart from the plastic lid limiting access to the candy, there have been occasions when, probably due to the heat rising from the brood, the candy has begun melting and dripping down onto the cluster. Following on from this I began experimenting with alternatives to plastic lids and hit upon the idea of what I now call My Candy Cage. This is a wire mesh box, for want of a better word, approximately 8″ x 4″ x1″. I have used the rigid mesh as used in my comb cages. ( See August’s post ).

candy cage 004


candy cage 005


This picture shows the cage on one of my nuc’s. It has been in place about a week and you can see how well the bees have been able to attack the fondant, apart from anything else, the cage allows the bees to access the fondant from all angles. This is the second or third year that I’ve been using these cages and I must say, they work for me! The one drawback with using the cage on a nuc., as in the pic. is that the eke needed, does make the nuc. appear somewhat top heavy. For that reason I always anchor any nuc. with an eke on board, to the hive stand. I prefer to use a hive strap for this purpose,

candy cage 002


for if nothing else, it enabled me to walk away with peace of mind in the knowledge that I’m not going to return to find a nuc. full of bees laying on the ground beside the stand where a strong gust of wind or some deer that has decided to use it as a scratching post, has deposited it.





Well, February got off to a good start. I thought the bedroom seemed unusually bright Friday morning when I first opened my eyes, and as soon as I pulled the curtains back the cause was immediately obvious. Two or three inches of snow now covered everything, very pretty from behind glass but not so great if you’ve already got your day planned. Up until that moment, the bee-shed at the Station site had occupied most of my thoughts but it was obvious that once again that was going to be resigned to the back burner. With the weather calling all the shots, I was beginning to convince myself that the whole project was somehow fated, but no, four days later, with the snow now nothing but a distant memory, I made my way to the Station. By the end of the day I had the shell up and by the end of the following day, the walls were in place.

shed finished 005


At last, I can remember thinking as I drove away, just the doors and roof to go. The next couple of days saw the sun shining out of a cloudless sky with temperatures reaching record levels in some parts of the country, but more importantly, by the end of which, the shed was standing in all it’s glory, finished. Just the flooring remaining to be installed.

shed roof completed 001


Meanwhile, the bees were making the most of the sunshine, issuing in vast numbers from all four hives and returning with copious amounts of pollen, always a welcome sight.

shed finished 001

shed finished 002


In stark contrast to the beginning of the month, this last week has seen the warmest February day since records began and I have to say, it’s been a real treat to be able to work in a tee shirt rather than wrapped up in body warmers and the like. The floor is now in and I have to say, it really does look the part. I have installed a damp-proof membrane between the floor panels and the joists in exactly the same way that I did at the meadow and if this one works as well I shall be well pleased. As I said before, there wasn’t a hint of damp in the old floor when the shed was dismantled. With the racking installed, all that remains is to get all the kit back in the shed. It never ceases to amaze me just how much equipment one manages to acquire over time and I have to say, seeing it all spread over my friend’s garage floor, it doesn’t appear possible that it’s all going to fit back in the shed but, as that’s where it all came from, I guess it must.



A week into 2019 and at last I’ve managed to more or less finish the frame of the shed base. There’s just the legs to fit and I’ve already rebated and yacht-varnished them so it’s just a case of screwing them into place. A job which I’d earmarked for this morning but as usual, the weather has had other ideas so, unless it stops raining by lunchtime, I shall hopefully finish it tomorrow.

New shed base. Station Hse. Apiary 001


I really do hope the weather Gods smile on me this week, it seems to have taken an age just to get as far as finishing the frame and I’m so looking forward to having all my hive parts and associated kit under one roof and getting my beekeeping back in some sort of order.