As I write this we are in the grip of winter and the bees are clustering to keep warm. Most of the queens have stopped laying and the brood comb is emptying out as the last of the new bees emerge. Hives are wintered down (surplus boxes removed), entrance reducers on to keep out wasps and mice. Varroa treatments have been administered and removed. Its now a case of keeping an eye on the hives to make sure they don't run through their honey stores too quickly.
Most beekeepers would have had a great season. The weather came right just before Christmas and carried on through summer. Our bees did well with very few losses and our best ever harvest. Remarkable considering the poor weather last Spring!
Hamilton City / Kirikiriroa
We had our first season with beehives in Hamilton. The city council provided apiary sites at three iconic parks, Taitua Arboretum, Hamilton Zoo, and Hamilton Gardens. All in all, these sites have worked very well with more than 1.5 tonnes of honey collected. Some of the honey will go back to Council to be sold at Hamilton Gardens and some is going to the zoo. Honey is a special treat available to some of the zoo animals and the zoo keepers are very enthusiastic about using the Kirikiriroa honey. It's a mild, pleasant tasting honey and we've had a great response from our regulars at the Hamilton Farmer's Market.
Its only 8 weeks to spring (or at least when the bees will start getting more active) and we are in the process of making sure that all the gear is ready for another season. New bottom-boards, repairing frames, fixing boxes, and a general cleanup all round! I'm looking forward to attending the bee-keepers conference in Taupo in a week's time and learning some new things about beekeeping from the "old hands".