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Thread: Management for OSR

  1. #1

    Default Management for OSR

    Does anyone know of a good (cheap) book/download giving all the details?
    There is no rape near me so never needed to bother.
    I have looked at the SBA downloads but nothing I can see fits the bill.
    I have a little booklet by Allan Calder but it doesn't go into much detail.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Fife and Ardnamurchan


    Black Comb you could try these module 8 study notes. You need page 6. There's not a lot to say really big, strong colonies, feed them in early Spring, make sure you've got enough supers.

    The farmer has planted several hundred acres of autumn sown rape around my main out apiary. Depending on how the season develops (temperature wise) I'll give them some thin syrup and a sprinkling of pollen in mid/late Feb or early March.

    Oh yes and I'll be moving a few additional colonies into the apiary to take advantage of it

    Note. Also found this discussion on the BBKA website which, although not a great deal of help about colony preparation itself does remind me that OSR is a great opportunity to start queen rearing early. There's an additional comment about OSR pollen being well worth collecting (and, after all, there's loads of it).
    Last edited by fatshark; 08-01-2014 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Another link

  3. #3


    Thank you FS.
    A most useful reply.

  4. #4


    I rely on OSR for about half the honey I produce. I migrate to the crop and only take my most powerful colonies. Before taking them to the OSR I boost their foraging population a few days before by moving adjacent hives several yards away thus bleeding off their returning foragers into the OSR production colonies. Sometimes I unite spare colonies to them or rob colonies of combs of emerging brood to boost the production colonies . These boosted colonies are able to fill 3 or more supers of OSR honey in as many weeks but the downside is increased risk of swarming so you have to be on the ball to stop them. However the risk of swarming in the bled colonies is much reduced and by the time they have built back up they are ready to be taken to the beans while I use the returning OSR rape colonies for making up nukes, queen rearing etc.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Blog Entries



    Out of interest, how many colonies are we talking about here? You're suggesting that you have enough to manage the build up of colonies to pack up and move into areas of OSR. How many is "enough"? Are we talking about an agreement with a farmer or simply that you have a site close enough to be worth shuffling hives around it to take advantage of the OSR?

    I seem to have lost my spotlight to enforce the interrogation , but as an urban beekeeper with generally static hives and apiaries where the bees on site tend to dictate activity perhaps more than local forage I'm genuinely interested.

  6. #6


    I currently have 28 production colonies but I work with another beekeeper who lives a few miles away and who has 36 colonies. In late april we take about 10 colonies each in a pick up and a flat bed trailer to a farm about 10 miles away growing autumn sown OSR & if possible leave them there for later crops like field beans and spring sown OSR so the hives may stay there for a couple of months. We are invited as the farmer wants his beans pollinated. My permanent apiary is on another farm and this year there is so much autumn OSR growing on this farm & in the immediate area that it should provide enough forage for all of the colonies. So they will stay there for the OSR and then I intend to move about half of them elsewhere for the rest of the summer but where exactly hasn't been sorted out yet. Then there is the heather....

  7. #7


    I'm just reading Yates on this. He says aim for maximum emerging brood 6 weeks prior to beginning of flowering period.
    So, brood emerges say over 1 week.
    3 weeks as house bee and it is ready to start to forage.
    But it is 2 weeks early IMO?
    Am I missing something?

  8. #8


    You are discovering that J.Y has limited experience of actual practical beekeeping.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Aberdeenshire, on top of a wind-swept and exposed hill.


    To start six weeks before flowering period - doesn't that mean three weeks from egg to hatched bee and then another three weeks as house bee? So if you plan to give stimulating syrup or pollen, shouldn't you do that six weeks before flowering?

  10. #10


    Yes correct if talking about eggs.
    But he states in both the mod 2 and mod 8 notes emerging brood.
    So it's nearly had it's 3 weeks as egg/larva.


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