All posts by StephenWheeler

Winter 2015-2016

I still have at least one more month until winter is over and I am in the clear. So far I haven’t lost any hives but two are not looking great, So this year I decided to feed them 200cc of sugar water every 10 days to 14 days, I hope it’s enough.

Weeding is a must!

Well it’s my birthday today, so why not do something interesting on your birthday :-)

On Thursdays I generally check on the Hatada apiaries and today I noticed that the Perilla had started to take their dance of death and turn brown and honesty the stone terraces just weren’t looking good.

I knew this is gonna happen and had been putting off weeding that  section of the apiary because I  just don’t like weeding.

I had decided on only weeding around the beehives, but being a  Mr. Can’t stop when he gets started ended up pulling all the Perilla.

Now next, I’ve just got to get rid of all the Madagascar ragwort around the hives.
before_after2 before_after




合計は36.86kg まだまたですね!

最小の収穫は1.20kgです。刺された回数は15回以下になったと思います。(2014年度は60回以上 だった)


頑張ります (^_^)



2015 honey totals

10 harvests from 6 hives.

3 in spring (June/July)
1 in summer (August)
6 in autumn (September – October)

A total of 36.86kg (81 lbs)

Smallest amount from one harvest 1.20kg (Hives in this area did not do well this year)

Biggest harvest 5.03kg (11 lbs)

Note: Japanese Honey bees produce smaller amounts of honey then their European counterparts. My goal is to try and keep an average of 3.5kg (7.7 lbs) per hive per year.

Goal for 2016 is 50kg (110 lbs) and for 2017 100kg (200 lbs)



Population of Japanese honey bee colony over the seasons 日本蜜蜂の1年間

Very interesting to see the changes over the year with my Japanese honey bees.


  1. 入箱後一ヶ月(5月)
  2. あつい!8月
  3. スズメバチの撃退後、冬の準備をする(11月)
  4. 働き蜂が減ってる(12月)
  5. 真冬
  6. 春に入る
  7. 働き蜂が増える
  8. 分封は始まる(5月)
  9. 分封後
  10. 分封後+5日
  11. 分封後+3週間
  1.  Swarm caught a settled in (+1 Month,June)
  2. Feeling hot hot, The peak of summer. On the flow (Mid August)
  3. Summer is over, hornet attacks have stopped. Time to get ready for winter (early Nov)
  4. Population is dropping (Dec)
  5.  Midwinter, Population at an all time low. (Mid Feb)
  6. Two weeks later and the population is starting to grow back.
  7. Two after that and the population is at full strength.
  8. Getting ready to swarm. (Start of May)
  9. Just after swarming.
  10. Post swarm plus five days
  11. Three weeks later and the colony is bigger than ever.

Getting Stung, no biggy

When people here I keep bees, The first thing they generally ask me is

How much honey do you make?

Do you get stung?

Which I answer..

Not enough.


Yes! I get stung all the time

But like most other bee keepers I don’t mind it at all. It’s all the other things I don’t want to sting, bite or eat which bother me.

And on the list right now of annoying things are the horse flies.

Man these things hurt and they seem to be able to bite through parts of my clothes.

Yellow Hornet vs Japanese Honeybees 黄色スズメバチが日本蜜蜂を猟る

You can’t really do much about the yellow hornet, traps don’t work. Luckily they don’t attack in numbers.


蜂球 – Bees balling a yellow hornet

エゴマの蜜源 Wild sesame perilla nectar

In less than four months, Following very wet rainy season (duh) the stone terraces have turned a brilliant green. At first I had no idea what this weed was and it turns out it’s a very common herb/spice used in Korean cuisine and known as wild sesame. It’s suppose to flower at the end of summer around September hopefully and is a good nectar source so I been told, I just hope the honey doesn’t smell like the leaves :-)



西洋蜜蜂だった! Ops! European honey bee

It seems that my troubled beehive is in fact European honeybees.

They won’t last long at this rate.





Cutting Grass – My new life

When a friend who has helped me out tremendously was asked

What do you do on you holidays ?

His reply was “Kusakari! weed eating!

I laughed his reply and thought, that is the direction I my life is going in.

Weeds in Japan are just crazy, during the rainy season you obviously you’re gonna rain, heat, humidity and enough sunlight to throw them  in to overdrive and really make the life of the locals constant battle between knee high lush good to hide the poisonous snakes and a beautifully weed eaten field.

Next year I want to try some mulching, grass and the mulching sheet we can pick help from the local home department store and see if I can find a easier way to handle the onslaught :)





Cutting the grass