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!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Busy Bees

Lit smoker but didn't use!  What a waste of a cartridge (rolled hessian and corr. card.) The bees were very busy and very calm!
The temperature was 12C this afternon so I decided to swap Yellow and Red on to
clean floorboards. All colonies very busy fetching in pollen - probably willow and
celandine mainly.
This is what Red Hive floor looked like! What a mess! The yellow bits are cappings - they've been into their stores.
.....and here they are in their clean hive - clean floor, clean cover board with new Porter escapes and  clean queen excluder (QX) First check SHE is in the brood box and not in the
top super!! Much of the drawn comb in the super is drone cell.
What we don't want is Q. laying drone eggs! so be watchful.
 So Yellow and Red are settled, both with fresh candy.  It's still quite cold some days and although they are bringing in loads of pollen there is less nectar available.
Their floorboards etc will now be cleaned by scorching with my blow torch to destroy any disease spores/varroa eggs. Next job
will be to transfer  Blue and White colonies on to these cleaned floors.

Walked across the fields in warm sunlight and ----- saw first 4 swallows of the year! What joy!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Coming out of hibernation? or just doing a spot of spring cleaning? Again!

This beautiful weeping cherry tempted the honey bees and one or two queen bumbles.
Yes! they really are there - No! I know you can't see them - trust me. You know that dreaded buzzing sound which makes you dash off to collect you swarm gear?  Well that's what I heard as I was planting my onions on Thursday.  This tree "Snow in Spring"
was the source of all the excitement.
However, the weather reverted to cold, windy and wet so I'm back to checking the candy blocks in the hives every day.
I treated the Red Colony with Nozevit+. (1mml : 200ml syrup).
They seemed to prefer the candy! However it's all gone now.
Note for Autumn - treatment first.
Next warm day - if ever- I'll be moving all colonies on to clean floors and if it's REALLY warm replace 3-4 brood comb with fresh foundation.  Probably like you I'm raring to go - on the starting blocks!
Pity Mo didn't win the London Marathon - came 8th.
TV might be worth watching BBC4 starting Monday 8pm "The Wonder of Bees".
Back soon - watch this (blog)spot.  QB.