A Ripe time of year for bee colonies - 7th Jan 2013

A Ripe time of year for bee colonies

You certainly would'nt say this summer has been a settled predictable one. We have had hot dry days, thunderstorms, wind and this week cool evenings. All this does not encourage bees out and about.
Today I was inspecting many of our hives and was aware how little flying and foraging was going on despite being a reasonable day. Cool wind does not suit bees. They will tend to stay in. At least the 24 hour a day ripening of nectar keeps on going.

Ripening is the name given to the process where bees reduce the water content of nectar from around 80% down to approx 17%. When the nectar has been reduced to this level it is refered to as honey. It becomes storable for very long periods.

The actual process of ripening is carried out by thousands of bees passing nectar in and out of their mouths on their long tongues. The repeated exposure of the nectar to air evaporates off the water.

This ripening generates a lot of undesirable moisture. A well looked after hive has suitable ventilation to enable the moisture to escape the hive.

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