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!