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Thread: First year at the Oilseed rape

  1. #1

    Default First year at the Oilseed rape

    Well this is going to be my first year at the oilseed rape (wish me luck) lol....

    Went up last night and locked the bees in their hives ready for the move this morning to the new home on the farm, its a really nice place that I have been given to keep the bees on while there at the rapeseed but that's not all the farmer has said that I can keep bees there all the time from now on. "YES" but that's not all his son who has a farm about 20 miles away has offered me the same over on his farm. So things are looking up... just need more bee's now as got another 10 hives all ready to be filled up.

    Anyway the move went well and no dramas apart from a few houdini bees (there seem to come out of nowhere). the wife came with me just for moral support and to see where the bees were going. I hope to keep this thread upto date with how things are going and if I come a cropper on the way.
    A few pic's the wife took of me letting them out at there new home @ 7:30 this morning

    IMG_0434.jpg IMG_0435.jpg IMG_0436.jpg

    As you can tell from the pictures they are surrounded by logs, keeps them out of the wind plus what you cant see is that they can just walk across the road and there in the rapeseed, 4 really big fields within walking distance (for me that is)

    4 hives moved this morning a few more to join them soon I hope, got one at the house that will go there next week and another that needs requeening (bad tempered) ladies...

    Comments had advice as always will be welcome.

  2. #2


    My tip is watch them like a hawk because rape is a very early crop and a bonanza for bees
    So it suits them down to the ground for swarming purposes

    They build up very fast and need a lot of space

    Even if the huge amount of forage doesn't set them off then the second issue with rape is that it often all starts to disappear at the same time
    When they start to lose their unlimited food source that can trigger swarming as well

    You need to take the honey off before it is fully capped
    A densitometer can tell you the moisture level in case its too early (and will ferment)

    let your honey set in buckets then cream it
    If you put it straight in jars it sets brick hard

    You can get a lot of wax drawn on rape which will be a really valuable thing to have later
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 30-04-2016 at 11:13 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    West Wales, Gorllewin Cymru


    Yes, all of what DR said, plus I have a few other suggestions:

    - they can build in to tall stacks quite quickly on the rape, once they've filled out the bottom brood box stay well ahead of them on space. Also, I find it easier to have them closer to the ground for stability.

    - to get the most crop plus filling up your empty hives, let them build on multiple brood boxes, aiming to harvest honey from brood sized frames and split the hives down at petal fall (once petal fall has started dont hang about, rarely will you get much more osr honey even if large patches of the fields still look to be in flower, also, be prepared for the bees to be a bit tetchy, the sudden stop of flow can leave a lot of bees grouchy)

    This is my plan anyway, good luck

  4. #4


    I meant refractometer
    A densitometer is something else
    I used to use one a lot (brain fade )

    Sent from my LIFETAB_S1034X using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Fife and Ardnamurchan


    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    let your honey set in buckets then cream it
    If you put it straight in jars it sets brick hard
    Or let it set rock hard in buckets and then deal with it in a quieter time of the year. I make creamed (er, soft set) honey when it's cooler* as crystallisation is optimal around 12C I think.

    As long as you follow DR's advice and don't let it set in the comb, and ensure it's got a low enough water content, it will be perfectly OK in buckets for a few months ... or more.

    * these things are relative

  6. #6


    Hi Guys,
    Thats for all the suggestions and advice, I will take them all into account and will keep you posted on my adventure. I heard somewhere that you can keep OSR in a liquid for for longer if you heat it and then cool it rapidly? can anyone confirm this and how this is done correctly...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Blog Entries


    Dont know if your interested in reading this
    So you will have to keep an eye on farmers spraying their crops.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Norfolk East Anglia, South Scotland


    Once OSR has set in buckets and has been re-heated, it tends to stay liquid well-enough.
    The biggest problem is getting out out of the comb before it sets hard but ensuring the water content is low enough so the honey doesn't ferment.
    As has been said, OSR yields well and bees do well on it - with or without neonics it seems - so honey comes in very rapidly so you can find that the brood-nest is full of honey where the queen should be laying and the super(s) are full in a matter of days. If you are then thinking of putting on a super, put on two!

  9. #9


    Hi everyone, just a small update on the bees at the OSR. Well I have added their second brood box last week and they have draw out the foundation nicely BUT they seem to be filling in with nectar! I have added a super to each hive.

    My question is this will they move the nectar up into the super? as I don't want nectar filled brood frames...

  10. #10


    Move some brood up in the centre to encourage them up.

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