Sunday, October 24, 2010

They may not read books, but they can solve complex Maths!

Some research has just come to light, that despite only having a brain the size of a grass seed bees are able to solve complex mathematical problems computers have problems with!

The problem in question is the "traveling salesman" problem. The one where the salesman would love to know the shortest most efficient route between stops.  Well bees have been found to do this! 

All we have to do now is ask them to write out how they do it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bees don't read the books!

Why don't bees read (any of) the text books?

I went through the Daughter hive this morning.  The super that was at the bottom of the stack of boxes has not been emptied - well perhaps a bit, but not as much as I would have liked and certainly not enough to warrant removing it!  There is however a nice brood cluster on 3 frames of the lower hive body and lots of stored honey also. So I did some equalisation in the hive. The top hive body is pretty empty, but there were some signs of some stores being put away. At least there is plenty of drawn out comb available for them to fill. 

So what do I do to prepare my girls for winter? Well, as part of the preparations I want to feed them some Fumigelin-B to treat against tracheal mites, but I'll need them to take a couple of gallons for that.  The answer (for me at least) was to put the heavy box of brood and honey on the bottom, the partially full super on top of that and then the other (empty-ish) hive body on top of the stack. I put a division board feeder in this last hive body and added 1 gallon (3.75 litres) of 2:1 syrup with a heaped teaspoon of Fumigelin-B mixed in.  

This means I will at least be able to feed and feed the bees from the top.  I hope there will be another couple of weeks window for feeding. We will see.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Treatment Over

It's been 4 weeks since I started the Apiguard treatment.  I came home tonight and removed the foil tray and the inverted feeder. I also opened up the access hole in the front of the top hive body.  I noticed a few SHBs on the top cover, but only a few.  I will wait for the weekend before I do a more thorough inspection.

I want to assess the overall strength of the hive and whether I need to think about combining it with the other hive. I will also try to equalize the hive and if I need to I will move the brood frames to the bottom hive body.  Finally I'll check the stores and see what feeing may be necessary and I'll decide if I need to add some Fumagellin.  So a busy weekend ahead!

I also took the opportunity to feed the Parent hive again.  They took the best part of 2 litres of syrup. So that's about 7 litres in the last 2 weeks.  As with the Daughter hive I didn't take a thorough look, but I hope the bees have been building up their stores.

I will have to take care when undertaking the inspection. I do not want to have the hive open too long and do encourage any robbing by other bees in the neighbourhood!  By all accounts this has been a problem this Fall.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Parent Update!

I thought it was about time I looked through the Parent Hive. The weather has been lovely and warm and it just seemed a good idea! While I did the inspection I took the opportunity to replace the existing hive box with another one that had a hole drilled in it as an alternative access.  Anyway, I also shuffled about some of the frames (equalized the hive) so that the empty frames are now on the outside and the cluster is in the middle.  I reckon there are:

   2 empty frames
   2 to 3 frames of brood
   4 to 5 frames (or thereabouts) of honey and pollen.

I also topped up the syrup.  The bees had taken some and I added approximately 1 litre more. I would have added even more but I had not made up any syrup. I planned to top up the syrup today.

This morning I was watching the bees with Matthew and they seem to have found a very yellow source of pollen - good news.  But this afternoon (about 4pm) there was a lot of activity outside the front of the hive.  The new opening was available and I wonder if there was some robbing going on.  I put the stopper in the new hole and within a couple of minutes the activity around the outside had subsided.  I later filled up the syrup inside the hive - I added another 2.5 litres.  Was there any robbing?  Did I stop it by replacing the stopper?  I don't know, but I think I'm happy some syrup is finally being taken in a reasonable quantity.