Archive for the ‘Apiary Sessions’ Category

18th May Apiary Session

May 19, 2011

To say the session was busy is an understatement. Before the training began we went through 7 colonies looking to see if the queens were laying, removed a couple frames of eggs for a member whose colony had gone queenless. Two colonies have laying queens which were marked, one of the colonies was later split to make up the observation hive with the remaining frames making up a Nuc around two queen cells from hive 1.

During the training we examined 6 colonies, hive 1 has sealed queen cells so we reduced their number, hive 2 had a new floor fitted, hives 3, 4, 6 and 8 all are performing well.

During the pre-training examinations we did see 3 queens but no signs of laying so we did not mark the queens. In one of the hives we were unsure about a queen cell that was still capped so eased off the cap and a virgin queens head appeared, at the same instant another queen appeared at the cell with the intent of investigating her opponent (looked just like a cat perched on hind legs peering over an edge). We cut out the cell with new queen inside and put her in a cage in the glove compartment of a car. She later fully emerged and we ran her into a Nuc that appeared queenless.

Finally as it was getting dark we retrieved another frame of eggs for another member with a queenless colony, to say the bees were not happy was an understatement!!

Woodwork Day Photos

May 7, 2011

We had a good morning building hives and frames. Thank you to Mill House Farm ( for allowing us to hold the event in their workshop and making us feel welcome.

Below are a couple of photos taken during the session.

Woodwork day 7th May

May 6, 2011

Bit late notice but the programme for tomorrow is:

Start 10:00am and work on the following activities:

Frame making:

20 Brood

20 Super

Equipment Repair

Have selection of brood and super boxes

2 Nucs

Roof needs metal and tlc

Build hives

Have full Caddon and Thornes seconds hive to be built from ground up

Own equipment

Anyone with own equipment for building are welcome.

The location is:

Mill House Farm, Risborough Rd, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP22 5XL

If you travel from Stoke Mandeville towards Princess Risborough it is on the left just after the goats centre.

See you tomorrow

Quick update on last week’s activities

May 6, 2011

Last Saturday we completed an inspection of the colonies missed on Wednesday.

We finished off the Bailey comb change on hive 1, it had a queen cell in the bottom box with sealed brood and a lot of bees, so we turned the bottom box into a Nuc, added a frame from hive with open queen cells and moved the box to the nursery.

On Wednesday we had our first beginners group and were able to go through 4 hives. At the same time we tried to go to the next stage in the miller method of queen rearing, however the queen in our breeder colony was no more. Luckily colony 2 had three good frames with quality sealed queen cells, two frames were removed to populate hive 7 (deceased queen) and create a new Nuc.

Two weeks into the training season and we are already at 16 boxes, although to date we have not progressed beyond 8 queen right colonies. Next week should see this change with a couple of colonies due to become queen right J

Apiary Advanced Training 27th April

April 28, 2011

It was a busy evening again and luckily the weather was good, all be it a little chilly by the end of the evening.

We started by initiating queen rearing employing the Miller Technique. We chose Hive 7 as our breeder and host colony as it was strong with bees on all of the frames in the Brood and Super boxes. On opening the hive we discovered open Queen Cells so obviously the colony was preparing to swarm, an ideal situation for rearing queens. The queen was removed to a nucleus with along with 2 frames of brood a fresh frame of foundation cut into Miller V’s and a frame feeder. All queen cells were torn down in hive and nucleus and the nucleus was removed to the Nursery for the Miller frame to be drawn out and the queen to lay in. In up to 7 days we should have suitable larvae to transfer the frame back into the original hive for queen cells to be raised.

Hive 9 we intended carrying out an artificial swarm but first we practiced clipping queens by using drones available from the colony. Once we started to look for the queen we found sealed swarm cells and luckily the queen. The queen and a couple of frames were placed in the new hive and the supers placed on that hive. As we had queen cells on two distinct frames and sufficient bees we created two Nucleus colonies and transferred them to the Nursery. Attached are notes on carrying out an artificial swarm, this method can be used for swarm control, making increase and varroa management of an infested colony. The same basic method applies to each requirement.

We carried out a full disease inspection Hive 3 which is coming towards the end of a Bailey comb change. In doing so we discovered sealed swarm cells in the bottom brood box, this was moved to another stand and made up to a complete hive.

Finally last week we placed the bottom brood box from hive 6 in the Nursery to let it create emergency queen cells, it has produced 6 across two frames. As we had seen enough queen cells on this visit it was good to compare swarm and emergency cells. Swarm are generally large and peanut shaped generally along the edge of the frame in large numbers whilst emergency queen cells are small and on the face of the brood frame and have been drawn from worker cells.

The Apiary currently has 8 queen right colonies and 5 colonies with sealed queen cells, it is going to busier with the rape now in full flower all around!

The Artificial swarm.pdf