Friday, 21 November 2014

Using that precious wax - Pt. 2

Carefully roll candle out of mould after leaving to set.

The last photo. shows some of the various candles which QB has made for "The Hearth" Winter Fair on Sat. and Sun. 22nd and 23Nov.                                                                                                         
These are the beeswax blocks.  It's surprising
how many uses there are for plain beeswax!
Beeswax candles burn without smoke and drips.
The scent is very reminiscent of those summer hives! Add caption
Next blog QB 'll be making furniture polish - yet  another use for this amazing natural material. I'll buzz off now - see you at The Hearth. QB

Using that precious beeswax - Pt.1

I found out the other day that honey bees need to consume 2kg honey to make 60g wax. About 1 table-candle.
In old money that is 1lb to make 1oz.!! So, from now on QB will be saving every little flake.
I've been v. busy purifying wax and moulding and rolling candles.  Here's what I did.
These are silicon mouls - expensive but long- lasting.
The wick is threaded through fom the bottom and
Held tight with 2 sticks (cocktail - fine!)
and rubber bands.Add caption

I save tins from B. beans/dog food - any that are watertight.
Boil water in that old pan. Put broken pieces of wax
in the tins and squeeze tin rim to make a pouring lip. Put tins
in water - wax will melt at 65C


Once the wax is liquid it can be poured into the moulds. Pic. at top shows plain (no wicks) moulds for beeswax blocks.
Bottom pic. shows candle moulds filled to the top.  If the wax shrinks as it sets I top it up again.
Once cold (takes a few hours) the candles can be taken out of the moulds.                                             
Episode 2 to follow - gets even more exciting!!!!!
QB  ran out of space on blogpage.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Last job - extra help for winter bees

Did you remember to alter the clocks/ watches/ mobile phones etc. etc. ?
So moving on ....................................................................................
An extra empty super will give the honeybees some cluster space.
It will also lift the wintering bees away from cold draughts, in-driving
rain and snow flurries.
Here's how I did it, with the help of 2 Bee Buddies.  You can do it on
your own but the disturbance to the colony is much greater. WBC hive
lifts and porch need removing first.
Gently lift brood box and top super of stores together. Separately if working alone - they're very heavy.

Place empty super on floor of hive.

Lower broodbox + top super onto empty super

WBC only : reassemble lifts

Put insulation/ mousetraps etc on top - then the roof.  
JOB DONE !!  Well not quite - I'm still feeding some of them and I must not forget to remove the Apistan.
Then that's it for this year.  Now back to making those candles for "The Hearth" Christmas open weekend (22-23 November). 
Next blog I'll show how I make the candles.  QBuZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Monday, 20 October 2014

All this wax.

QB saves every shred of wax in a bucket labelled - you've guessed it - "WAX".
Most goes into the solar wax extractor - which must now be emptied, cleaned and
stored away till 2015.  So what to do with the wax?
And there's all those cappings from the honey combs - washed and dried.

A large old pan is very useful.  Boil some water and drop all the wax, not very clean,
into the hot water. Keep stirring and the melted wax will float to the top.  Leave to cool.
I think it's a good idea to loosen the wax circle before it sets solid.  Pour off the water, now
cold and this is what you get.
The semi-circle on the left shows the clean wax.  The right shows the debris underneath which must be scraped off.
This lovely pale beeswax can now be used.
I make candles to use at home and also to sell.
This is our stand at the Village Show in September.
Candles, honey, furniture polish and, on the left, a BBKA Collection box in the shape of a WBC hive.
Aaaaaaah!. In aid of Honeybee health and Research.

I have to admit to buying the coloured wax. I haven't ventured into dying wax yet, although you can buy the dye. I don't scent the candles.  The natural smell of Summer cannot be beaten (in my view)
Most of my candles are made in silicon moulds. But
the coloured ones back left are rolled wax foundation.  Very quick to make and very pretty.
If you ask me questions (in the Comment box) I'll do my best to answer them.

My Apiary - Organised at last! (Well almost!)

After a quite unsatisfactory Summer here's where I'm up to.
Honey crop and feeding must be finished before Varroa mite treatment.

Honey - 180lbs from the 3 most productive hives. But then.... listen to this!
We went on holiday for 12 days and when we got home I found all the 'wet comb'
above the clearer board had been filled with lovely capped honey - at least another
60 lbs.  Extracting it from the comb was quite another story.  Eventually we gave it back
to the bees!  Must have been visiting the ling heather while we were away.

Ambrosia syrup was to be their treat for the winter (now on top of the stored honey)
I bought some from my local Association at a very good price.  The bees are taking it, but
very slowly. The long warm Autumn is giving them very little forage.
I hefted each hive. They must weigh a ton(ne)! Exaggerating of course but they certainly won't
starve. I'll keep hefting each colony over winter so I know how much stores they have left.

I have 5 strong hives full of honey and young bees ready for next year.
2x 2013 Queens (Red marked);  2x 2014 Queens (1 Green marked); 1x2012 Queen.

Now for the first Varroa treatment and that dreaded count.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Planning for next Spring

Sorry for long silence  Bee-buddies !
QB has had great problems with her blogsite.  However, that doesn't mean nothing has been happening.
So here goes.
In late August I finished taking full supers and, after spinning out the lovely golden bounty, I put the wet combs back above a clearer board (1 Porter escape removed) for the bees to lick clean and dry.
This year is a first!  - Red hive and Lime hive decided to start filling up  the comb again. On the basis that "they know what they're doing" (quote King Bee!) I have left them to it for a couple of weeks.
I have done a varroa count for each colony and found hardly any!!

Decisions have to be made about the strength and temperament of each colony - so ..................
-- White hive seems to have failed to raise a Q after artificial swarming.
    Action - I united White with Red ( 2013 Q from art. swarm.)  SUCCESS.

-- Blue hive 2011 Q stopped laying early.  Having tried a few times to find her I have now put her in my freezer.
   Action - I united Blue hive with Silver hive (successful nuc. with 2014Q)  SUCCESS.

-- Lime hive - very agressive (a swarm given to me by a Bee-buddy in June.
   Plan to re-queen but plan to purchase a gentle colony from another Bee-buddy and unite them.
   Action - see next blog.

Feeding will begin soon and then treatment with Apiguard var. (for a change from Apiguard) even though the count was very low - I don't want to risk a growth in v. population.

Sorry no pics. - still got probs. getting them.  Next blog in 2 weeks when I have sorted my technical
problems.  Meanwhile, get planning for next year and take action to make sure you will have strong,
disease-free, queen-right colonies.  It will be worth the effort.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Saturday-last chance for a few days-bad weather coming!

There's still plenty of forage. My bees have found Agapanthus,  Eryngium, Violas & Lavender. And loads more. After yesterday's thunder-showers today is lovely. The forecast is poor so I checked through :  Red Hive - 3 supers on - top one full - put on clearerboard.
White Hive - new Q has decided to set up home in the super - so I switched super to bottom and brood box above. Let's see what happens!
Blue Hive - 3 supers on - top one full - put clearer board on. Silver Hive (was 3 nucs - combined).Saw Q laying - marked her Green - added super of wet comb. Lime Hive - 2 supers on - top one filling but not ready to take off yet.
That's all for now from Buzzy QBZzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, 4 August 2014

Clearer boards on

The last of the meadowsweet
Roadside Rosebay Willowherb

Today is quite chilly in the wind and cloud.  However the BBC promised me 20C at 1400hrs!
So I have 3 hives to check for capped honey in the top supers. Each hive has 3 supers on.
Anyway, last night I cleaned all the burrwax off 3 boards and scrubbed 6 Porter escapes with soda crystals. (This is the only product I know which will remove propolis).
So we're all set to go.  I read that it is a good idea to put clearer boards on when the sun is hot and the bees are all busy foraging - using minimum, if any, smoke.
As usual, the bees hadn't read that particular manual.  Even New Red Hive, the quietest, best behaved, were not at all pleased to see me. 
A quick look through all supers told me that N.R.H. and Blue Hive were not ready ie the honey in the top supers wasn't 2/3rds capped.  Possibly in a week's time?
Lime Hive - the most unpleasant colony- (a swarm given by a Bee-Buddy) had the top box pretty well capped so on with the clearer board and retreated to the dark shade of a beech tree - with an escort of 20 or more angry bees.
The same book tells me the best time to remove the top box is late evening.  Now, I wonder..........

 Anyway, there are still plenty of nectar-rich flowers to help the bees to fill the supers. QBZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Heather (Ling) is already in full flower on the moorland round here. At least 2 weeks early!


Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Golden Harvest

 Yes. That first flow of the golden harvest never ceases to thrill me.

This is the first super from my "New Red Hive" and produced 20lbs honey after spinning the uncapped combs in the (manual) extractor. there's lots more to come.

This batch is already bottled and labelled and sold!  The money goes into my honeypot to be spent on my bees. Well OK. They sometimes insist on buying me a gift as a reward for my caring for them.

The honey is pouring from the extractor through  3 sieves into the honey bucket which has a tap.  It stays there for a few days to settle, and let any air bubbles rise to the surface before bottling.  I put the cappings to drip through a separate sieve - then wash and dry them to melt down into wax for candles.

The whole process is a complete joy - nothing wasted - but plenty of honey left in the bees' winter stores.  QBZzzzzzzzzzzz

 PS  Tomorrow is the varroa count, with decisions to be made, depending on the results!! Watch this space.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

6 stings later

Monday's inspection became MondayTuesday's.  Monday was so hot QB started dripping sweat all over
the combs - so after 3 colonies I abandoned the plan.   Continued on Tuesdaypm .  So here is what I did.
I have 5 colonies now and each one is at a different stage of development.
New Red Hive :  Original Q (2013) from artificial swarm (18th June). Queen (marked) laying well.
                           5 frames full; bees drawing foundation. Plenty pollen and nectar.
                            3 Supers - top one full and sealed - put clearer board on.  Remove tomorrow.
White Hive     :   Artificial swarm (18th June) - still no sign of a laying Q. Give her till 1st Aug. then put
                          in a comb of eggs/brood from another colony.  If they haven't a Q they'll start to develop
                          a new one.
Blue Hive       :   This colony is a combination with Yellow hive after I removed a poor laying Q.
                          She's residing in my freezer now.
                          The surviving Q is marked white (2011) so quite old but still laying well.  This colony will

                           be united with a younger Q colony soon (this year).
                           3 Supers - 2 very heavy - put clearer board on next insp.
Lime Hive       :    This colony is the swarm given to me - very excitable and today became agressive -
                           now QB is nursing 6 stings which are swelling nicely! However nasty a colony is it still has
                           to be closely inspected. I didn't see the Q but she is laying prolifically with eggs/larvae/
                           capped brood right to the edges of 6 combs.
                           2 Supers - top one full - put clearer board on.   Added Super drawn comb above QX.
Silver 17         :    This is the colony made up of 3 nucs. combined using peppermint spray into a WBC hive.
                            Only one nuc. successfully raised a Q (mark green when I find her).  There is a very
                            scattered pattern of eggs/larvae/ brood.  QB will keep a beady eye on this colony. It
                            needs the new Q to improve her laying pretty quickly or else ......!

This is the WBC hive of the 3 nucs.
This colony will be called Silver17 (for complicated historic reasons)
There will be a silver-painted rock on front of it - helping me and the bees to identify it.

Back to nursing my ever-swelling stings QBZzzzzzzzzzzzz
Tomorrow we begin spinning honey from the combs.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Planning for August/September

Back from hols.  Now it's time to assess the colonies and decide what needs doing.
1)   Varroa count - to plan treatment IPM (integrated pest management)
2)    Queen and colony strength - it's getting late to requeen. Could combine strong
       colony (young Q) and weaker colony (get rid of old Q)
3)    Assess stores in supers.  Decide how much honey to leave as winter stores and
       how much can be taken.

This was the plan for today, Sunday, but we keep getting heavy downpours.  It's very
thundery and overcast - the little dears aren't in the best fettle!!  Tomorrow is looking
better so I'll postpone this major inspection and get on with ironing the holiday clothes.
Results tomorrow QBZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Going on Holiday? Some tips + large number of large drones - Why?

Well you can't take them with you.  Imagine how the Passport Office would cope with 60,000 (or more)
little photos!  So you'll have to go without them.
First, have a good look through the brood box.  Deal IMMEDIATELY with any suspect signs of Queen-rearing.  Why not mark the Queen (Green) if she's this year's. Or any other signs of leaving home eg. 10,000 tiny packed suitcases lined up by the entrance!
Make some notes about the state of the brood and stores.

Second, ask a Bee Buddy if s/he'll agree to be contacted if the neighbours (who will be keeping an eye on things for you) get alarmed by any unusual Bee-haviour.
Don't forget to mention that the bright lime-green  in their bulging pollen-sacs is probably Meadowsweet - and NOT a serious, notifiable disease.

Thirdly, make sure they have enough space in the supers to store nectar.  From now on the bees will be preparing for winter. (Sorry to mention it).  The weather forecast is good (hot, sunny) so there will be plenty of stores coming in.

Something I have just learned when inspecting to see if a new queen had hatched. If you see a very large number of normal size drones in the hive, but no drone -comb this can be a positive sign that there is a virgin queen. The drones, I am told,  will sometimes come into the hive looking for her.

QB will be looking for varroa mites next - with some harmless treatment to reduce the number.
More reports on nucs. and combined colony on the next nice day.  It's very thundery and a bit too chilly today.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing off now.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Full Apiary inspection - Report - OMG!

This is my apiary in July. It has never been in such a disarray!!  Anyway, here goes. Starting from the right.
You can see the 2 nucs that we set up to get 2 new queens from Sth. N'land  mated  with my drones - fairly black stock.  The nuc. on the right has hatched and mated a Q. and she is laying well.  In fact, eggs/larvae/sealed brood on 4 combs. Yes they're nearly out of space. The "owner" doesn't want them yet.  So...........
it looks as if the 2nd nuc. has a drone layer or a laying worker.

What do you think?  Compared to
this comb on the right from the R. hand nuc.  Not looking good.  So I swapped a comb of brood from the R. with an empty comb from the left.
Shook the bees off of course.

I'll keep an eye on them both - if the L. nuc. starts to make Q. cells on their gifted comb I'll know they haven't got a fertile Q.       That should put it right!

The R.hand hive - well the 2011 Q. had stopped laying - so now she's (sadly) in the freezer.  I decided to set up a nuc. with a Q. cell the colony had built and combine the rest, through newspaper, with the middle hive you can see above (5 lifts high). It's a small colony but doing fine - I'm feeding them 1:1 syrup.

The L.hand hive is the artificial swarm hive split from the White colony.  The Red-marked (2013) Q. is laying very well and the bees are drawing out foundation and filling the 2 supers - just as they would if they had swarmed naturally.
The White hive had the brood and the nurse bees and a good Q. cell.  The Q. cell has hatched but the Q isn't laying yet - a tense time now waiting to see if she has successfully mated. Close them up and be patient.

The tallest hive at the back is empty waiting for a new colony when a nuc. outgrows its 5 combs.

The swarm hive from A-Bee (back left) is thriving.  I have stopped feeding and have given them a Super above the QX. This colony behaves very oddly - thousands emerging and fling around each time I open them up.  Not agressive but certainly makes for a very quick inspection.

Whew!!!  Well that's it for now - till next inspection in 7/8 days'time. Happy buzzing - let me know what you think! QBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

1st July - 20C - Full apiary inspection

Who can resist taking advantage of this glorious day to check through
1) the artificial swarm hives
2) the 3 nucs.
3) the swarm gifted by A-Bee
4)the Blue  hive and Yellow hive ( considering combining through paper)

Details later - must buzz-off and make up some more brood frames in anticipation!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

June Gap ?

There's a lazy sort of buzzing in the apiary.  Nothing hectic.  No hurtling around.
This, in N N'land is the June Gap.  The Rowans have finished flowering.  The May (aka June) blossom is over.    But.....................................
Cerinthe (Honeywort)
Meadow Buttercup
London Pride

We aren't short of forage.  The Flowers just take a bit of finding.

Anyway, remember that your honeybees are storing up for winter now.

The 2 nucs. are bringing in pollen - a good sign that they may have reared queens. The next inspection QB will report on their progress as I plan to go through the nucs thoroughly.
Watch this space.  Where's John-Bee?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Artificial swarm technique

QB used to get quite upset when she came home from work to find a swarm hanging from a branch ready for the "off".  Then I found you could make the bees think they had swarmed.  Here's how.

First, during May to (say) early July  I go through each hive every 7 - 9 days (every Sunday afternoon).
This can be quick if time is short.  Just looking for Q cells.
On the day I find any I carry out an "artificial swarm".
1)  Move original brood and floor to the right by 2'.
2)  Place a new brood box and floor in its place.
3)  Find Q. in original brood. (This is when I'm pleased I marked her)
     Place Q and comb in centre of new brood box. Add empty drawn or new combs either side.
     NB making sure there are no queen cells on the combs.
4)  Put Q excluder and supers with bees intact from original hive.
5)  Leave entrance open about 2-3bee width - the foraging workers will come back to the queen.

6)  Now for the original hive - 2' away.
     Go through the brood box.  Remove all sealed Q cells. Leave 2 or 3 unsealed Q cells ie with well-developed larvae.
7)  Put on crown board and roof.  I usually feed them 1:1 syrup about 6-8pints.
     Close entrance to 1 bee width .
     Remember there are only nurse bees/eggs/larvae in this hive so no bees on guard duty.
8)  After 1 week move this hive to the left of the new (swarm) hive.
     This is so any bees which are now foraging will go back to the old queen and swell the numbers
     until the brood builds up.
If the queenless colony fails to rear a laying queen OR if you want to replace the old queen you can combine these 2 colonies through newspaper later.

Old Queen marked red - when I found her I put the comb in a box to deal with later.
Then at least I know where she is!

The left photo. shows the "swarm" hive (new box on old site) ready to receive the old queen and her retinue.
The right photo shows the "swarm"
brood box with the frame with the old queen and bees reinstated. Next add QX/supers/crownboard/roof.

This is the original hive - feeder in place as there are not yet any foraging bees to collect nectar and pollen.

Hope this is clear and not too late. Keep on BZzzzzzzzzzzzzing!!        

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Much too hot to work with bees .... but...

QB hasn't been able to inspect the bees properly for a week or more. Plenty of time for my White Hive colony to plot some mischief. This is my strongest colony and I will expect to see at least some queen cells with larvae and royal jelly.  Sure enough on combs 2 & 3 there are 3 Q. cells (not sealed fortunately!) hanging along the top bars.  This usually indicates supersedure of an old queen.  Their queen, who I haven't been able to see/mark, is 2013.
On comb 4 there she is. A beauty - large and black.  I always have the marking cage and pen ready so
managed to put a bright red spot on her thorax (as well as on several workerbee attendants!)
It was becoming quite obvious that an Artificial Swarm was necessary.
How I did it and pics. too will be in tomorrow's blog.
QB dashing off to water the garden.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Solar wax extractor - don't waste your wax.

The solar wax melter is working overtime today.
I collect every bit of wax - old comb, scrapings off QX and top/bottom bars etc.
Throughout the summer these bits get thrown into the extractor which has a perforated zinc screen.  The wax melts and the bits of debris get left behind. Some beekeepers put the wax bits in an old pair of tights and we know someone who puts them in old pyjama legs!  Scary!!
The resulting wax can be kept in the freezer if you haven't time to deal with it.

This is what you get at the end of the summer.
The box is stored away in the winter and the wax can be used for candles, polish, cosmetics etc. but it may need a bit more filtering through muslin to get it absolutely pure.
You can make it into blocks and trade it in exchange for sheets of foundation from your supplier.
The pic. shows some of last year's wax (1kg)- several different colours depending on where the bees have been foraging.
Quite a nice piece of modern art don't you think?

Saturday, 31 May 2014

New Kids in the Apiary

We have 2 nucs. set up by a friend whose bees made a lot of very nice Q. cells.
My apiary is the "stud",  with my drones being around when the 2 virgins hatch. We're keeping the black-bee strain as pure as possible.

We put the nucs. on old WBC floors to lift them off the ground.

Also we have kept the entrance tp 2 bee-width.  The colonies will not be strong enough yet to defend their stores.  We don't want to risk robbing.
Each nuc. has 5 drawn combs. 2 outer with honey and pollen; 3 with eggs and brood - the middle one with the precious Q cell. If all works out the Q's will hatch/ mate/ start laying after 2 weeks.

This is a good way to do an artificial swarm if you're a bit short of equipment.
The day is too nice to waste indoors so I'm off outside.
I will not be even taking a little peek inside the nucs.Tempting though it is.
QB will be back later with a report on today's adventures in Beeland.

Monday, 19 May 2014

MidMay Inspection (using cloths)

 This is Cerinthe - or Virgil's Honeywort.  The purple 'petals' are bracts.
These flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to all species of bee - esp. bumblebees.

Today's temp. here is 19C and well worth a full inspection of all hives.
This picture shows the open "Blue" hive using canvas cloths to keep the bees from flying around upsetting the rest of the hives

Using 2 cloths which you roll / unroll to expose 1 frame at a time.

 You can easily make these yourself using canvas cut to the size of the box (super or brood) width-ways and 20cms or so lengthways.  Turn the ends over to make a pocket in which to slide a piece of flat wood to weigh the ends down when in use.
Any questions?  Add to "Comment" at the end of this post.
All hives had masses of stored pollen in the outer frames - a sign that the workers are ahead of the Queen?
 After a thoroughly lovely afternoon with my bees I dutifully wrote my noted obsevations in my specially designated book.(Not on bits of scrap paper which I am likely to lose!)  Sometimes, if future action is needed I write it on a piece of card and leave it above the crown board.
Add caption

Time to roll up the cloths making sure no little (inexperienced) youngsters have got trapped.
Hope your day was as good as mine.  QBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Hot weekend coming - great for good inspection.

Some friends I met in Helmsley!  There were definitely no crows in this garden.
When we got home from our hol. in Y'shire the wisteria had begun to flower. The honeybees haven't found it yet but it's covered in v. big bumblebees.  There is one on this pic. A sort of black blob in the  middle of the top flower!
Next blog I'll show how I use cloths to keep my bees from coming out of the brood box and creating an unholy buzz around the apiary.
My laptop's playing up a bit so my next blog may be a day or two.
Hot weekend coming - good time to have a really thorough inspection. Check for early signs of swarming plans - lg. no. drones/queen cups/no eggs. QBxx

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Higher temps. than expected - Get in there!

Today turned out unexpectedly HOT! 
QB has just come back from the Yorkshire Dales where Summer has started.  May blossom, Horsechestnut, Oak, Sycamore etc etc. Learned how to play the ancient game of Merrills.
Anyway - decided today was the day to inspect the colonies.
I think it very important to have a pre-rehearsed (mentally) plan before opening up the hives.
Today - gauge the bees' mood and behaviour.
           - check stores.
           - examine brood nest for all stages of brood - eggs, larvae, capped brood.
I always lift to one side the super(s) and cover with quilt or cloth. I like working with cloth covers
to reduce the number of bees flying around getting excited.
Lifting off the QX is done carefully to make sure the Queen isn't clinging to it. She could end up in
the top super when I reassemble the hive -- happily laying eggs among the stored honey! Not good.
Taking out the first frame (on the right) and then working across left, carefully examining each surface
I look for all stages of brood, pollen stores and nectar. If I don't see the Queen but do see eggs I know she's about.  If I do see her I have the marker pen and cage to remark her after a long winter when her marking may get picked off by her attendants.
White Hive :  very strong; good mood; drawing out new foundation; 1 full super/ started on second.
                 :  brood nest on 4 combs of all stages eggs/ brood/ capped.
                    Capped drone cells (about 15)
 Yellow Hive : Medium strength; good mood; plenty stores in 1 super; loads of pollen in brood box.
                     : brood nest on 3 combs of larvae and capped brood - didn't find any eggs. BUT ......
                       we got a sudden thunder shower so had to close up very fast.
Blue Hive -  will have to wait till another day.

Sorry no pics today - rain stopped play.
Happy bee-keeping - BZZZZ QB

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Some news

Northern Bee Unit workshops - Sat. June 14 Finchdale College, Off Chester Low Rd. DH1 5RX. - or-
Newbiggin Village Hall, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0HT

Basic Syllabus - Sat. 10th May - Alnwick Bee Keepers Ass.- contact Ian Robson 0783317399

Report of colony thefts in Scotland.  If buying bees ensure they are from a reputable source.

Willow-leaf Pear is in full flower now!  The bees
love it and so do the birds. We have hung a
bird-feeder amongst its pretty branches. They
can feed and hide from the sparrow-hawk 
at the same time!

I've inspected the colonies and found -
White - 5 combs eggs/brood
Blue   - 2 combs eggs/brood
Yellow - 3 combs eggs/brood

WHAT ABOUT RED ?  I hear you cry !!
I could not believe my eyes !
Red colony has completely disappeared.
There is uncapped nectar in 5 deep combs - but NO eggs/brood.
There are 8 shallow combs of capped honey in the super.
Absolutely NO bees at all.
Any explanations will be welcomed.  QB is distraught.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Weekend - Blue Colony Queen decided to lay eggs in super.

Moved last 2 colonies on to clean floors and put cleaned QX above brood box.
There was a chill wind so I didn't inspect the brood situation.  However, I did examine the contents of the super - fortunately!
The Q (white marked 2012) had decided to lay eggs in the shallow comb. She chose worker cells not drone  THANK GOODNESS!  We don't want drones just yet.  I didn't see her and it was too chilly to hang about.                   

Anyway - don't panic - what I did was this :  - Place the super to one side.
                                                                    - Place an empty super to the other side.
                                                                    - Lift each frame in turn and gently brush every bee into
                                                                     the  brood box.
                                                                    - Place each brushed comb into the empty super (same order!)
                                                                    - Gently brush any remaining bees into the open brood box.
                                                                    - Put the QX on top and then the full super.
                                                                      GOT IT?
The bees will care for the brood above the QX.  The Q will  carry on laying inthe brood box where I want her to.
Task completed and all has quietened down. Next job is to clean the now empty hives and give all the outer bits (floor, porch, lifts, roof  a coat of paint.)
Job done!
If tomorrow's temperature for here, inland Northumberland, is as forecast tomorrow,  I will do a full brood inspection of all colonies,  exchange old comb for new and, as each super is almost full and capped, I'll give them a super of empty drawn comb.
Wish I was a beekeeper in the south UK!  18/19C !!

See you soon with more news!