Last year my friend’s beehives were ravaged by hornets, so whenever I have the chance I like to check on them for him during hornet season.
Now, This year’s weather has been pretty much disastrous (lucky us) for the hornets on Awaji Island, torrential rain in spring to hinder the nest building followed by a couple of huge typhoons in late summer which drove the final nail into the coffin for the underground dwelling species. As for the hornets who build up high and dry, well…. Even that practice was no match against the tree uprooting wind and the bucket loads of endless rain
The Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is called ōsuzumebachi 大雀蜂 which is literally “great sparrow bee”.
The Japanese yellow hornet (Vespa simillima xanthoptera) kiiro suzumebacho (キイロスズメバチ) the English translation is the same as the Japanese name.
Last year around April the owner of the land my Ayuya apiary lives on decided to kick me off her land. What sucks sorry disappoints me the most is the time I lost developing the apiary, money aside I probably lost close to 1,000 hours of work over three years and only got to harvest one hive.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to overwinter six hives which were due to be harvested the early summer of 2017, But because I was kicked out I needed to move them to a new apiary. Sadly three of the hives did not take to the new area, and two were stolen, yes stolen – seriously! – from the new location.
CLEANING UP! What a BITCH! The job of cleaning up that is, not the land owner 🙂
Man I am lucky to have a fellow beekeeper friend who has a excavator.
Thanks to my creative friends at Kreativ I have settled on a logo and name for my honey. I have also moved all my hives to the Hatada area in Sumoto and will be focusing on wild organic honey from now.
Bees on Awaji island must be thankfull for the abundant supply naturally growing camellia species here during the winter months. Around my apiaries I am blessed to have the hills littered with Yabu Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) and the apiaries closer to civilization Sasanqua seems to be dominant species. If you ever have trouble telling which is which, just wait until the flower drops. If it drops petal by petal it’s a sasanqua and if the whole flower drops them it’s a camellia.
Hatada eventually should become my biggest apiary hosting around 100 hives, in the area of the shed hopefully a potential 40 hives so I need to keep tools and hives on hand so I can rock up to the apiaries empty handed and take care of business.
Empty handed? Really? Lazy much?
I really want to cycle there some weekends and it’s a good 70 km round trip if I do a loop. Also I never know if I am going to be cycling, motorbiking or driving the Awaji sports car, aka kei-truck.
But the main thing I want to keep up there is a weed-eater. In the photos below you’ll notice some yellow flowers, those flowers are sadly an invasive species are pulling them out has became tiresome, so a little fossil fuel power is needed.
The bamboo fence for the apiary is harder to build than I thought. Of course having to collect the bamboo, split it, find the good parts and then attach it to the fenceposts, really does make it labour-intensive.
I wish I could’ve started sooner, but since you can only collect bamboo between the months of December and February I don’t really have much choice.
I am hoping this year I can use this field, I still haven’t got the okay from the owner, but I’m weeding out the ragwort in the field anyway because once this noxious weed (Madagascar ragwort) takes root it’s a real pain to get rid of and it makes lousy honey…. Just in case they say yes, fingers crossed.
The field is honestly amazing, the perfect place for the perfect vegetables, it measures up to my checklist and everyway.
Good soil check
Lots of sun check
Water supply check
Up Fence check
Fully fenced in. check
More than enough space to do different crops. check