Sunday, 5 August 2018

Save your wax.

A solar wax-extractor is a must. Simple to build or (quite expensive) to buy.
Every bit of burr-comb, brace -comb and spare bits can be dropped straight into it. 
 Below, view of extractor from above.
Right, the cleaned wax collecting in a plastic tray after passing through a perforated zinc screen.

Sunday- hot.

Bees working the Agapanthus.
My honeybees found the Agapanthus today.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Next job - Queen marking

 This is the kit - all ready.  Not today though.
Dead-heading calls! No! not of bees but of all the garden flowers. This will
 prolong their flowering period. This will help the bees with their winter stores.

Taking some honey.

Silver colony and Stone colony didn't waste time making new Queens.
Both had young queens, and I did a shook swarm with Silver when they got the urge to make Q cells.
Anyway, I have 2 full supers from each.
Today I collected a full super from Yellow'H'.
Left - I leave combs like this a few more days.
Below - Yellow'H' gave me a super (10) of frames like this. Lovely white, fairly even cappings for cut-comb or extracting as liquid honey.*
*although not good enough to show!

Tense time checking "Queenless" stocks.

It's no use putting it off any longer.  I need to open 3 hives which seem to have been queenless for weeks. Each 7 day full apiary inspection Yellow'H',
Red and Blue/Yellow have not shown any sign having Queens - unless you count bees in good mood with quite a few combs empty and cells polished to a high gloss. B/Y Queen hatched on 3rd July and by 14th I found a rather weird split brood nest comprising 2 patches of capped brood, 3 combs  of pollen and nectar, then 2 combs of eggs and tiny larvae. I did what you should never do and made a "proper" brood nest.
Then, on 3rd August I found, to my relief, Yellow'H' had masses of eggs and larvae and Red had 2 combs capped and 1of eggs. NB. on 3rd Aug. I was wearing contact lenses and had a X10 mag.glass!!
 Yellow'H' masses of eggs. This comb is full. I know you can't see them! Take my word for it.

Below, a comb from Red. There are eggs and newly hatched larvae in the gaps and stores in the corners. Poor quality comb, but after the stress of queenlessness I'll settle for this, for now anyway.
QBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Friday, 27 July 2018

Why would they want to leave home?

Hopefully the urge to swarm is over - but I'm not getting complacent!
With the Queens slowing down and the frantic storing for winter it's time QB started taking surplus, capped honey.
Borage - the bees love it. Annual but self-seeds.
Lavender - another favourite.

Rosebay Willowherb has dark blue-green pollen.
With such a lot of nectar sources here, why buzz off? QBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 

Sunday, 22 July 2018

I've never seen that before!

Yesterday I spotted honey bees collecting pollen from the sweetcorn.
They were industriously packing  pale yellow grains into their corbiculae.
I have honestly never seen that happen before.
The sweetcorn is wind-pollinated but the crop is looking very promising.