Archive for the ‘Apiary Visits’ Category

Bees are loving the Indian Summer

September 30, 2011

Down at the Apiary yesterday the place looked at its best.

We are still feeding some of the hives and the bees are taking full advantage of the excellent weather with all entrances very active.

One of the hives had a high Nosema count when we tested all the colonies during the Apiary close down day so we have been feeding it Thymol in sugar syrup as an alternative to Fumidil B. The bees know there is something different (smell for one thing) so are not taking it as fast as previous feeds. The recipe we used comprised:

Dissolve 30g Thymol crystals in 150ml of alcohol to make stock solution (surgical spirit works).

Use 10ml of this stock solution in 4.5 litres (1gallon) of syrup.

The stock solution keeps ok if well sealed, otherwise the alcohol evaporates.

It will be interesting to see if this has an effect.

There is just one colony job to do before winter and that is unite the two colonies on stand 2, one is weak with lots of drawn brood comb and the other is strong but has not drawn out more than 5 frames of brood, uniting should produce a colony that will se the winter out.

Hive stacked too high?

August 22, 2011

The attached photo shows a hive stacked too high for a normal beekeepers back. The top super weighed in at over 40 lb, was propolised and brace combed to the super below, so working at eye level was hard enough for a pair of beekeepers.

At the Association apiary our stands are at a variety of heights so as to give new beekeepers different experiences as part of their own apiary planning, however the rule of thumb is that the height of the stand should be such that the top of the brood box is at knuckle height. If we had followed this rule for this hive life would have been easier!

Just before the swarm

April 27, 2011

Last week when inspecting the colonies on Tuesday we tore down several queen cells in Hive 2 and rearranged things so that the colony had more space. The next full inspection was not due for a further 9 days so on Monday (7 days on) a quick inspection was carried out. The queen was seen but there were several good swarm cells just about to be capped.

A nucleus box was placed next to the hive with the entrance facing the opposite direction. The frame with the queen on was placed in the Nuc along with four further frames from the main hive containing stores and all stages of brood. Queen cells on the frames transferred to the Nuc were torn down. The brood frames in the main hive were placed together in the centre of the brood box and flanked by fresh frames.

By removing the queen we have prevented a swarm issuing until at least when the 1st virgin queen emerges (8 days after queen cell capped) and by reducing the brood the colony may now not swarm due to the lack of young bees.

Positioning the Nuc box close to the original hive maintains our options for what to do with the colony and the original queen.

At the next inspection we may split the main hive again if we have sufficient good sealed swarm cells, further reducing the chance of a swarm issuing and hopefully resulting in an additional small colony for use during the busy training programme this summer.

It has been an early spring this year and there are reports from several members of colonies swarming already, we were lucky in being able to save the queen and prevent a swarm issuing. At this time of year one should carry out inspections every 7 days and if a colony starts swarm preparations carry out preventative measures such as an artificial swarm.

Apiary Visit 19th April

April 21, 2011

It was just of a week since the Bailey comb changes and Shook swarm were initiated at the Apiary opening day so we had a bit of follow up work to do.

First we removed the bait frame from the Shook swarm which was carried out on Hive 4, the frame was fed to the chickens! This colony is relatively small as would be expected and will be an ideal training colony. We removed the Queen Excluder from below the Brood Box and placed it above with a super on top.

The three Bailey comb change hives each had the queen laying in the top box so she was trapped in with the addition of Queen Excluder below the top box. Supers were added to each hive so as to encourage the colonies not to lay down stores in the bottom Brood Box. The queens in Hives 1 and 6 were marked Blue, it was the first time the queen in 1 had ever been spotted and no wonder she is jet black! Hive 6 was showing signs of Varroa, high drop count and deformed wing, so the bottom Brood Box was removed to another stand creating a form of Artificial Swarm. This action does a couple of things, reduces the population of varroa significantly as all the sealed brood is in the bottom box and in the removed box disrupts the varroa life cycle since there will be no new brood in which the varroa will reproduce for a month or so.

The varroa drop count on all the other colonies in the apiary was extremely low to insignificant.

Of the other colonies we have mixed bunch:

– Hive 2 is showing swarming tendencies, tore down open queen cells, need to do an Artificial Swarm on 27th April

– Hive 7 doing really well with two supers of uncapped honey, 3rd super added

– Hive 8 has a red queen and is not progressing well, she will need to be superseded

– Hive 9 doing well and busy

The rape in the adjacent field is now coming into flower. With weekly training sessions starting on 27th April we should be able to keep on top what is already looking like a busy season.

Rainwater Collection at Apiary

February 25, 2011

After a year of talking about it we finally have got round to installing rainwater collection at the apiary, see the attached image.

On a practical note the field leading to the apiary is impassable so unless completely necessary please not attempt to drive across the field to the hut.