Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3 Frames of Brood!

I had a look inside the hive this afternoon - just to see if there has been any significant action.

I reckon there are now about 3 frames of brood.  One, a very full frame in the middle of the middle box (with the queen present on it).  I saw plenty of larvae on this as well, so that's coming on well.  However, there seems little else going on in the middle box, and nothing in the top box; perhaps some pollen being stored in the built out comb I put in there, but no new comb-building.

The bottom hive box has plenty of honey in it, and I would guess about 2 frames of brood.  Brood was present in the middle of the box on a couple of frames, but did not cover the frame, like it had in the middle hive box.  I think a lot of bees may just have emerged from these frames, so this may have been the reason for the apparent emptiness of the brood. I think I saw some small larvae here, so the queen may be actively laying in both hive boxes.

I hope this means things are still on course for the 17th April.  I really must sit down and work out the steps I need to do in the days before she arrives!

Friday, March 19, 2010

She's off!

Oh I really must have more faith in my girls....!

Today is a lovely early spring day. Warm, dry and no wind.  So I thought that as the weekend weather forecast is for rubbish cold and wet weather (maybe snow), I'd take a look inside, just to see if anything has happened.  I was worried that there appeared to be no brood rearing.  Well, how wrong I was!

My Queen is up and running, and how!  The top box has no real activity yet - just a few bees checking it out and checking out the division board feeder.  The middle frame in the middle box however has a hand-sized section of brood and some lovely fat larvae. So the queen is clearly doing things, but I couldn't find her on the frame.  I had a look at another couple of frames in the middle box, but not much was happening.

I then looked in the bottom box, and "Kapow!" I think about 3 or 4 frames now have brood as well as larvae.  Some cells have even got signs of recently emerged bees i.e. 'holes' in the some of the capped brood. So my queen has been laying eggs for at least 3 weeks and I was needlessly worrying about her.  I think if today's showing is anything to go by we will be OK for April 17.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Any progress?

Well, I took a look inside the hive this afternoon. Just a quick look at a couple of frames in the top and bottom boxes. No brood and no eggs are present; well, none that I can see. I also didn't see the queen this time.  However, there is plenty of pollen being stored.

I would have hoped that by now there would be brood being reared. Should I be concerned? I don't know. Anyway, any incoming advice/support is gratefully received!

All this has rather taken the shine off the fact I made my first "gloveless" inspection today.  The bees were very docile and calm, and were gentle with me!.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ancient bees.

My Parents just returned from holiday in Egypt where they toured the pyramids and upper Nile.  I asked them to keep an eye out for heiroglyphs of bees, as the bee was the symbol for the King of the lower Nile, and subsequently both the Upper and Lower Kingdoms of Egypt, when the kingdoms were united.  Anyway, they found a surprising number of heiroglyphs and I've attached a couple of photographs they took at temples in Karnak (left) and Kom Ombo (right).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm Ready!

Right, so I now have my new hive equipment assembled and painted and I'm ready for the bees to do their stuff - the weather just needs to be with us!.

The word at the beekeeper meeting was that I probably shouldn't have reversed the hive as there wasn't 4 to 5 frames of brood in the top hive box.  However "leave it bee" was the suggestion, as I probably haven't done any harm. I've not been dismayed by my fit of enthusiasm however, as plenty of bees have been out and about this week bringing in pollen and nectar. 

I was thinking about adding the third hive box this weekend but the weather has been nasty - wet and cold - so I didn't! I will therefore wait until a fine day (later this week?) before I check on the hive and add the box. I was planning to add the division box feeder to the third box and maybe even treat for nosema as well. Again this time I'd better check and take some advise from some more experienced beekeepers! I want the bees to gain a head-start and build out the foundation before my new Queen arrives - plenty of feeding is on the cards! 2:1 syrup.

Well, as I hinted, the Queens do not now arrive until 17 April (delayed a week because of poor weather) so I still have time to prepare and get the third hive box going.  I have a good feeling there has been some brood rearing this week as we have had some excellent days, I just can't check for myself!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Spring Reversal

Today we had perfect weather, sunny and temperatues in the mid teens Celcius (50's F), and the bees were out in force.  Several even managed to find a source of pollen, which we think this is likely to be Witch Hazel, although none of us know of any shrubs in the near neighbourhood. Anyway, there was a lot of action; cleansing flights and a lot of dead bees being shoved out of the hive today.  All in all it was a good day to poke around the hive, see what stores were available and to generally check on the bees.

Neither Susan or I were dissappointed!  An abundance of bees throughout both hives and plenty of honey stores available. I recon the top box weighed over 25 Kgs (50 lbs). During the brief inspection I even found my queen roaming around the middle frame of the top hive box. She did not seem to be actively laying - at least there were no signs of eggs in the frame she was on, but I'll not take that as a bad sign.  Susan didn't see her queen, but there was so much activity it seems unlikely she has any problems.

Susan took the plunge first and did her Spring Reversal and I followed suit in mid afternoon. I had quite a lot of dead bees on my bottom board, but not a large number and there were some dead Small Hive Beetles and I think I saw one dead varroa. But overall the hive looks strong. Bees have healthy looking wings and are flying about "enjoying" the warmth today brought.

Next weekend I think I will add a third hive box and encourage some building out of foundation. I have until April 10 the build the hive for the split! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

A trip to Dadant!

What and excellent day - Susan, Pat and myself took in a road trip to Dadant in Hamilton IL (a 340 mile round trip), to get some new hives and equipment. We took in 3 states while we were at it, which we certainly weren't expecting to do. Iowa was a surprise, albeit brief!  But lunch there was great. Go to "Lods BBQ" in Keokuck!  Highly recommended!

Anyway, we have come away with what we need to set up our "Horizontal 2-Queen" management system.  It's all very exciting.  I even managed to assemble, and prime, top covers and bottom boards tonight!  Painting starts tomrrow.

All we have to do now is to put the management system into practice, which I suppose means we will also have to understand it better!!