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Whitstone Lad Wins Silver Cup at Callington Honey Fair (2015)

Daniel at CallingtonLocal lad, 16 year old Daniel Woodward has for the second year in a row taken the Callington Honey Fair by storm, not only winning the Callington Lions Rose Bowl for most points in the cookery classes but also taken for the second year in a row the Callington Motors Perpetual Cup for most points across the show.

Daniel, who has been keeping bees for 7 years, has built up his colony from 16 to ending this season with 37 hives. He hadn’t intended to enter this year but having entered Bude Horticultural & Honey Show back in August he decided that he would give it another go again this year. Time was the biggest factor as now having moved from Bude Haven to Petroc College in Barnstaple his days are a lot longer leaving the house at 6:45am and not arriving back until 6:00pm left him with a very small window to prepare, but prepare he did, entering 20 out of the 29 classes, some having 2 entries per class.

He came away with 5 firsts, 5 seconds, 5 thirds, 1 very highly commended and 4 commended. Each prize is worth points which are all added up at the end to give an overall total.

Who knows what next year will bring, we wait and see.

Daniel would like to say a huge thank you to Sue Hault who kindly staged his entries for him and also congratulations to her for coming away with 2 cups.

My Bees

by Daniel Woodward.

Honey Bee by Daniel Woodward

A Beekeepers Diary - October 2012

October has arrived we are basically just feeding the bees at the moment and keeping an eye on them. Six hives have died and they need to be removed from the Apiary so that they can be all cleaned up and sterilised ready to hopefully use again next year.

The second treatment of Apiguard has now been done and we are thinking about closing up our small Nuc ready for the winter. It will be packed with a sheet of kingspan and wrapped in a duvet and all we will do is just keep feeding it and leave it alone and hope that it survives the winter. We cannot afford to keep looking at it and letting in the cold air as this will kill them. All we can hope is that we feed them enough and let them go and hopefully see them in the spring.

Today (13th October) is honey show day. Dad and I helped last night to set up ready for today and our exhibits had to be in and staged by 9 am this morning. It seems that several people have entered considering the summer has been very poor. We haven’t entered as many classes as usual as we don’t have any cut comb so cannot enter that class and we don’t have any to do chunk honey with. Our honey is not dark so we cannot enter the dark honey class but out of the 17 classes we have entered 15 some with 2 entries in the class and some with only 1. Hopefully there will at least be some Honey cake to bring home and eat and some Honey Fudge. I don’t like the Honey Fudge as it is too sweet but my Aunty does so she will do well.

2 1lb jars of creamed honey 1st prize
Five identical 28g blocks of beeswax 3rd prize
One comb of honey for extraction 3rd prize
Honey fruit cake 3rd prize
One cake of beeswax 3rd prize
Item of beekeeping equipment 2nd prize

Here we are at the end of October we are still feeding and the weather is still against us but never mind we hope it will get better soon. We are feeding twice a week now, we have put mouse guards on (which is exactly what it is, it is to prevent mice from getting in and eating the bees and the honey and it being somewhere nice and warm). We have insulated them with the kingspan and duvets and hope they keep warm. They are still collecting pollen when the weather is nice but that will be basically to keep them going through the winter. They are beginning to cluster into a ball so that they keep themselves warm as there are not as many bees in the hive now as there was. They have basically gone from 70,000 approx to about 30,000 and this is the number that will hopefully go through the winter. They are collecting pollen from the Ivy which is the last flower for the year. All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed that they go through the winter. We will keep feeding as long as they keep taking the sugar down.

Sales of honey are good and we have had lots of compliments on how sweet and lovely it is so if anyone would like to sample a jar come and see us and we will willingly sell you a jar.

That’s all for now I’ll give you an update later.


About me ...

I am a young local beekeeper who has been keeping hives since 2009. I with the help of my Dad have 2 Apiaries 1 containing 7 hives and the other containing 3. This takes up a lot of my time but I do enjoy it. I passed my first exam in August 2011 and gained a certificate in Proficiency in Apiculture which basically means that my hygiene is good and the way I look after my bees is good.

When I go to look at the hives with my dad I have to get dressed up in a white bee suit which consists of a white boiler suit and a hat which is enclosed with a veil. We check the hives every 7 to 10 days to make sure that they have not made any queen cells, because if they have then they could swarm, this means that the old queen will take half of the bees (a hive has at least 60,000 Bees) with her and will find another place to live. You sometimes find them hanging in a tree or a bush which my Dad did when I was in Bristol. Daniel's beesHere is a picture of this swarm

Hopefully in the Summer they will make lots of honey, they do this by drawing out wax which is in hexagonal shapes on an oblong shaped sheet of wax, they go out and collect pollen in their pollen sacks which are on their legs and bring it back to the hive and put it in the brood chamber. The brood chamber is where the queen lays her eggs. (She lays over 2,000 eggs per day). Then at night they transfer the pollen from the brood chamber to the super and then they eat it and regurgitate into honey and put it in the hexagonal columns. In the Autumn we extract honey from these hexagonal sheets and this is where our jars of honey come from. Before the winter approaches we have to feed them with a solution of sugary water to help them through the winter and then we batten down the hatches and leave them to go dormant which means they go to sleep until the spring