As a beekeeper, can you ever get too much honey? Many would say not, but I have to admit that I have been caught out by the amount of nectar coming into the hives this year. Oil Seed Rape (or Canola in some parts) is flowering in several fields nearby so there are potentially a few hundred acres of it. I have never had it so close. For the honey-gathering colonies I know I am going to have to deal with the OSR honey pronto as the high glucose content granulates very quickly in the frames – it has to be removed very rapidly or it won’t come out by extraction. And I also know that I don’t really have the time as I have a lot of other duties at the moment.
The other part of having OSR is that nucs I have prepared to sell (late this year due to the poor winter/spring weather we had a while back) have filled up far quicker than expected. This has caused congestion although I suppose that I don’t need to feed nucs to help them draw comb which is a bonus. I generally use BS National deep frames 8.5 inches however I will move bees onto 14×12’s, Commercial or Langstroths on occasions. I do this by doing what in essence is a Bailey Comb Exchange. The colony has to be strong enough first; I put the queen upstairs with the new frames on an existing brood frame for a week with queen excluder in place to stop he moving down. After a week or so there is usually drawn comb and eggs in the top box so the old and ‘wrong-sized’ brood frame is taken away. The queen can then continue laying and the bees will draw comb. I usually give a top entrance at this time too. It’s nice to see all that newly-drawn light-coloured comb; and before a colony goes, I like to wait until the first brood has just started to emerge so I know that the colony will expand as soon as it goes into a full-sized hive. Unfortunatley the colonies have filled up the boxes with stores far too early so I have had to resort to removing frames of stores or putting nuc-sized supers on top to draw off the excess honey. I suppose it’s a nice problem to have!