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Thread: Heather weather

  1. #11

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    It is raining in the hills - a wee bit - this site has lots of data: http://apps.sepa.org.uk/rainfall

    Although to be useful you'd also need to know how much rain is enough - I have no idea!

  2. #12
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    Cheers !

    Our site actually looked okay. The bell heather looks great this year and the ling is still a while off I think. I only moved four hives in the end - mainly as I was going for a look anyway and secondly as the rest are crammed with clover honey and the hives are stupidly big. Third extraction of the year for some hives coming up then they can all go and I can breathe a sigh of relief for 6 weeks

  3. #13

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    Pleased to see a bit more rain today - I've been walking in the hills and its been bone dry. I put a couple of hives on a bell site, however I've likely missed it. A lot of the bell on that site actually passed the best (Angus glens so will be south of you GG). I have seen ling that looks pretty well on so plan to move other hives end of next week once all the uniting is done.

  4. #14
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    Worth remembering that heather moors are really large boggy water sinks. It may be dry on top but underneath there is still a lot of water. I'm looking forward to seeing what the crop is like this year as it will provide a lot of info on what is required (or not) for a good heather crop. Last two years we have had very wet June's and July's and exceptionally good weather in August which has given bumper crops.
    Is it the foraging weather? Or the amount of rain in June/July?
    Seeing the staggering amounts of honey being brought in with our long extended hot dry conditions my money is on the weather.

  5. #15
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    Update:

    Moved all my hives up mid July. Checked last week and its a mixed bag but not looking like a great year. Ling still going but lots of brown flowers already. I will leave it a bit longer but not optimistic. How are others doing ?

  6. #16
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    North Yorks Moors western side is producing lots of nectar. Most hives have filled 3 or four supers (not fully capped) and may need more. Although the recent rain and cooler weather may slow them down a bit.
    Intriguingly it's a bit checkerboard in places. Full out in some areas and just coming out in others. It may (or may not) be an extended season. Possibly due to whether the heather was over underlying deep wet "peat" or smaller distance to sub rock.
    But it's not exceptional, just the norm for this area.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thymallus View Post
    North Yorks Moors western side is producing lots of nectar. Most hives have filled 3 or four supers (not fully capped) and may need more. Although the recent rain and cooler weather may slow them down a bit.
    Intriguingly it's a bit checkerboard in places. Full out in some areas and just coming out in others. It may (or may not) be an extended season. Possibly due to whether the heather was over underlying deep wet "peat" or smaller distance to sub rock.
    But it's not exceptional, just the norm for this area.
    You are very very lucky, but then Yoprkshire has been 5C or more warmer than our areas over the last fortnight. Have some Yorks. friends reporting a very poor heather harvest, but then they left the bees gathering blossom and missed the first fortnight of the heather.

    Bees on the moors in July have done well...some places VERY well. One or two sites will average 50Kg. 25Kg more normally. Bell yielded in only about half of the normal areas, but the ling started by mid July and helped a lot.

    Bees put up in August have done very little indeed, the weather is shot, and the moors now mostly brown. Its pretty well over in most of our areas. About 20% of our apiaries have very little indeed, which will drag the overall average on heather well down from 25Kg. (Long term (35yr ave.) is 21.4...so not going to be a BAD heather year). The bees have known this for a long time and the rate of laying even in nucs tailed off around 3 weeks back and they are getting very dour about further expansion.

    Drones are mostly out, wasps are savaging the mating boxes and smaller nucs, balsam doing zilch apart from a few white bees coming in. Paying for the big heat earlier. Hurts the later flowers.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calluna4u View Post
    . Have some Yorks. friends reporting a very poor heather harvest, but then they left the bees gathering blossom and missed the first fortnight of the heather.
    Many round here decided it wasn't worth taking their bees to the heather because of the drought. All were predicting doom and gloom.
    Currently all is still looking good on the heather with the bees working well.
    But our borage harvest was a disaster. The plants where weedy and limp with brown leaves. Even the rainfall they did get was too little and too late. Last few years we seem to average around 34kg/hive...down to 7kg this year....and not sure how pure it is until I check the pollen content. The honey looks darker than usual.
    Will be interesting to see how these borage hives fare now, as we took a few to the heather on the 8th of August with empty supers.
    Last edited by Thymallus; 19-08-2018 at 04:35 PM.

  9. #19
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    Heee in the Highlands boxes all bursting with bees and looking v busy when weather allows but very little heather coming in. Luckily had some blossom honey earlier. So looking poor for us but good for strong colonies going into winter. More than doubled our colonies what with splits some of which still swarmed later. Now have one to combine I think and supers off next weekend.


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  10. #20

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    Well I got a surprise at Dinnet today...was up on a muchroom foray with one of my daughters and realised the heather is in far better condition than it was two weeks ago. This was true of several spots.

    Yes ll was brown two weeks ago but all the plants that just stopped developing because of the drought earlier are now in flower. I would say it has 10 days to 2 weeks still in it there.....I suspect its just a Deeside thing but have Italian visitors tomorrow for 3 days and on Tuesday we are going to Glenfeshie.

    Big thing was that hives that had very little last time I looked (which WAS in late July) now have some serious honey. but the 5 sites I checked will now have averages varying from about 23 to 38Kg...actually pretty decent. (Note to those who might think this not much....it includes EVERY colony in the group, even the young singles just up there to earn their winter keep.) There was some residual smell and light fanning from whatever they did on Saturday.

    So....maybe NOT totally over yet. Even a couple of kilos more adds up to quite a sum.

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