Club Apiary Autumn Tidy-Up

A day of fabulous weather, good company, great cakes and bakes, and a series of all-important tasks ticked off the master list.

Turnout was high – possibly due to the promise of delicious home baking from Edell and Emma – with a grand total of nigh on twenty Club members generously giving their time and energy to the maintenance jobs Mark had identified as high priority. Heartfelt thanks to all those involved, whether you were there for an hour or all day, and apologies to anyone I fail to mention here (I spent most of my day on hands and knees in the two apiaries and may sadly have missed some sterling contributions).

Great work from Emma, Christine and Edell saw the container transformed from a haphazard “stuffing-in” cupboard to a tidy, well-ordered display of hive equipment, tools and feeders. Linda manned the blowtorch and cleaned and scorched all the old hives and frames ready for use next season. She also identified and set aside those parts that need repair or modification to make them fit for purpose and fit for a Queen!

Out at the Apiary entrance, Jenny and Garvin set to work with hedge trimmers to cut back the straggling shrubs, brambles and tree seedlings that had shot up over the past couple of summers reducing visibility to just a few metres. They cleared an impressive area making leaving the Apiary rather safer than before.

In honour of Guy Fawkes, John C got a fire blazing in the corner using the frames of the hive we sadly lost to CBPV earlier in the year. An army of helpers kept it well fed with the trimmings from the various hedges as we worked our way round the main and side apiaries, lopping off low-hanging branches and vicious brambles and briars. Chris and Darryl made short work of sprucing the hedges up with loppers, handsaws and trimmers.

Kirsti trimmed the vegetation around the hives and hive stands, and she and Mark assessed the condition of the stands – some of which do not look as if they’ll survive another winter. Ho hum, no sooner do you finish one task, another materialises.

Kerry, Graham and Emma B gathered armfuls of trimmings, strimming’s and raking’s, and kept the bonfire burning fiercely throughout the afternoon.

Jane took a scythe to the abundant vegetation growing around the parking area before clearing leaves from around the shed and demonstration hives with a leaf blower. The debris is safely piled behind the shed (at least till the next storm) where it will hopefully rot down to fine mulch. John K strimmed the grass and weeds from outside the main apiary.

The place was almost unrecognisable by the time we were all done. Great works done, and a great day had by all.

Mark has promised us a follow-up meet in January / February to lay the hedging around the main and side apiaries and to raise the canopy at the near end of the side apiary, where the hives are currently rather too shaded.