The Fence, The Field

The Fence

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.

The Field

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.

  1. Good soil check
  2. Lots of sun check
  3. Water supply check
  4. Remote check
  5. Up Fence check
  6. Fully fenced in. check
  7. More than enough space to do different crops. check
  8. Up higher than the surrounding fields. Bonus!

Ayuya Updates

New Apiary

Cleaning space for new hives, I am pretty sure I can have 30 hives up there by 2017, still not sure what I am going to go with it… need a fence.

  • 2014 5 Hives (but 1 hives would be nice)
  • 2015 10 Hives
  • 2016 20 Hives
  • 2017 30 Hives

Todays new tool purchase… Weed Whacker!

Weed Whacker...
Weed Whacker…

Ayuya Updates

CC2541 SensorTag

I wanted something to play with over the winter months. So I decided to purchase this little device from Texas Instruments, at $25 including shipping it’s a steal.

It connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4 and offers a wide range of sensors (see below)

I plan to use this over the winter months to monitor the temperature and humidity of my beehives and to see how covering hive affects conditions inside.

It’s gonna be a great new world when these button sized sensors are somewhat weatherproof and priced around five dollars a pop and I can grab the relative data while walking around the hives. Maybe someday we could monitor for Giant Hornet Attacks and then send SMS to my phone. The gyroscope sensor would make good monitor to see if someone, or some animal is pestering your bees.

  • Accelerometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyroscope
  • IR temperature Sensor
  • Ambient temperature
  • Pressure Sensor (Barometer)
  • Humidity Sensor

A carbon dioxide, oxygen sensor would be nice too. But at $25 I really couldn’t ask for more.

 

 

Hornet Attack!

I wasn’t ready for this! No, I should say I wasn’t ready to see two of my hives covered in the Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica).

Since spring have seen a few buzzing around but taking zero interest in the hives, Well the giant hornet that is, the yellow hornet (Vespa simillima) has be testing the bees defenses over the summer months but never attacking the hives in the great number.

Armed with a fly swat I attempted to rid the hive from the attacking hornets. Not a brilliant plan, but the only thing I could do. Of course it didn’t work the Hornets turned their attention to me, luckily I was wearing my thick motorbike pants and jacket (I hadn’t planned fight hornets)

After killing about five hornets, yes five. I decided that my “swat and run” strategy was not gonna work and I was probably going to die. (note : giant hornets kill about 40 to 50 people per year in Japan).

Anyway not to tempt fate, I decided to go and buy the best weapon known to the Japanese beekeeper. No, not a flamethrower. A mousetrap, a sticky..  very sticky mousetrap.

Final result : 250 dead hornets, One hive lost. One hive saved but damaged, the hornets chewed through wood to enter the hive.

Autumn Honey Raid!

3kg of honey is a good amount for the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica)

The autumn wildflower honey taste has a mild sweet brown sugar favour to it.

3kg of honey

Troubled Bees

These bees are not doing well…. Maybe this hive can be a one of my test hives of see if I can move them into a different kind of hive. At the present they are in a 重箱式(じゅうばこしき Jubbako Shiki) “Traditional Japanese nested box style hive” which generally works well for Japanese honeybees.

I did get some beautiful photos.

New tools

Had a little bit of a summer spend and brought some tools for bee keeping.

First trap set

Time to start bee keeping, setting up an old hive from one of the local beekeepers.

Non productive bees

Japanese Honey Bees

With an extremely dry summer the honey production on Awaji island has apparently not been a good one. This hive was not harvest and the bee-keeper decided to leave it until next year.  He said the hive may not survive the winter.

I so much want to have my own bees…. next year maybe ?