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
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.
IR temperature Sensor
Pressure Sensor (Barometer)
A carbon dioxide, oxygen sensor would be nice too. But at $25 I really couldn’t ask for more.
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.
Bees balling a yellow hornet
Hornet Trap! Sugar, Vingar and Japanese Saké
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.
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.
Received my first hive from a local bee keeper today, The colony is an extremely big one and he also helpled me move it to apiary (well one day) at my friends coffee shop Fuku-cafe in Shitori on Awaji Island.
I have trying do this for the past three years and now I am finally making some baby steps.
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 ?