Monday, 24 June 2013

24th June: collect spare wax

Couldn't inspect on Sunday - Weather appalling and honeybees get a bit cross if it's thundery/wet/windy.
Worried about Blue - big colony, might swarm any day!  Anyway, nothing to worry about - no sign of swarm preps.(yet!)
Sorry it's blurred. White queen with attendant workers.

White (1211) Q. still at home laying well. Workers beginning to cap honey in top super.
There was a lot of  comb on the excluder.  It's worth scraping it off to give bees easy access to the honeycomb above.  Never throw it away - this could cause robbing/spread disease/encourage predators (eg.badgers).  Anyway it's worth saving to make candles or polish.  I drop spare wax into my solar extractor.
Solar wax extractor sited in full sun
Odd bits of wax will melt through mesh into tin on left


Sunday, 23 June 2013

16th June - Looking for Queen cells

Clematis, bluebell and Dracaena - just the flowers for busy bees on hot days.
Honeybees can be thought of as single organism - a "super-organism" whose method of reproducing is by swarming.
This splits the colony, some leaving the nest with the Queen, to set up a new colony.  The rest staying behind with the stores, the brood and a Queen cell or, if she has hatched, a virgin Queen.
QB checks for signs of swarming every 7/8 days at this time of year.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I can't show you what a Queen cell looks like as none of my colonies are wanting to swarm yet.  I'll post a pic. on my blog when I find one.
Blue hive will be the first to start preparations.
Their Queen (2011) is running short of laying space - I spotted her trailing across the comb with an egg coming from her ovipositor - obviously looking for a cell to place it in.

Friday, 21 June 2013

9th June Inspection

These are my WBC hives.  Blue colony has 5 full brood combs (right to the edges) eggs, all stages larvae and capped brood.; saw White Queen walking around an empty comb.
Plenty pollen and nectar. Bees calm and happy.
Red hive behind as bees made comb above winter super and the Q laid her eggs in it!  I put all colony + Q in the brood box below a queen excluder (QX) so she had to start over. Now has 3 full combs of all stages brood. Saw Blue Queen.  Plenty of stores.
Yellow hive has 5 frames of brood , plenty of pollen & nectar. Didn't see  White Q but lots of eggs so she must be there somewhere.
Now, what about the Silver hive - without a Queen - we lost her sometime before 1st inspection.
The bees seem happy and content and are busy polishing cells. Have they a new Queen?
To find out I gave them a comb of eggs from the Blue colony.  If they are queenless they will start to build queen cells around some of these eggs.
Watch this space !!   Happy buzzing QB ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Tuesday's Honey bees

May Blossom in late June!!
As usual the May Blossom ( Hawthorn)
comes out in June here in N. Northumberland.
and this tree in our garden is humming with the sound of happy, busy worker bees.
QB  is very happy too ZZZZZZZ

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Catching up - 2nd June - 18C/Sunny/Breezy

My colonies have all survived the looooooooooooooong winter.
This is the first "in depth" (taking brood frames out 1 at a time) inspection.
My hives are identified by the colour of the large painted stone
set in front of the entrance to guide the worker-foragers home.
*BLUE HIVE* - colony calm covering 6 brood frames.
2 frames eggs & larvae.  3 frames sealed brood. This Queen lays
right to the sides of each frame but didn't see her. (White marked 2011)
Super very light but some nectar and pollen in the brood frames.
*RED HIVE* - Queen decided to lay in the top super and ignored
the brood frames!  What to do?  Moved all workers and Queen (Blue marked 2010)
down into empty brood frames. Put QX on top. Put Super of sealed brood/eggs/
larvae/honey/pollen back on top and hoped for the best - see 9th June.
*YELLOW HIVE* - Saw Queen (White marked 2011) looking for empty cells.
1 frame full of eggs both sides. 3 frames full eggs/larvae/sealed brood.
This colony was slow last year and had quite a lot of chalk brood.  No sign of
this now - thank goodness. Bees calm and working well.
*SILVER HIVE* - Can't find Queen (Blue 2010) - Don't panic !!! See 9th June.