Monday, June 24, 2013

Nuc Development

I spent a very sticky 30 minutes or so in Ladue this afternoon (June 24) moving the nucs on.  It was 95F when I started! The nucs had been in single deeps since I installed them on June 7.

I added second deeps to both nucs today. I didn't go through the hives to look for the Queens, but I saw some young brood and larvae and that was enough for me today. Just too hot for a detailed look!

Before today there were 2 supers on the single deeps (over a queen excluder). So before adding the second deeps I removed the excluders in order to give the bees easier access to the supers for drawing out comb and filling honey! I don't think the Queen will cross the empty deep frames and move into the super, well not before harvest anyway.

So all I need now is to just get new stands, bottom boards and top covers on these hives and the apiary will be looking very nice indeed!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's a little mad out there!

I went in to check on the bees in Diane's yard today (June 23). There was a Queen Cell in there a couple of weeks ago (9 June) that I left to develop. It's 2 weeks since, so there should have been more brood and eggs in the hive if I was lucky!

I'm wasn't sure if the hive had previously swarmed but there were still loads of bees in the hive, flying in front of it and also perched on the landing board. There was also tons of honey in the supers. So I'm still jot sure!  The 4 supers I had on the hive are full, so I scraped around and  threw on a fifth of just undrawn foundation. I'm not sure I've ever had any hive with this amount of supers before!!! 

So the inspection... I got down to the deeps and pulled a couple of frames from the top one.  I found lots of capped brood on several frames, and then loads of very young larvae and eggs on another two.  So I clearly have a Queen. Whether it's the old one or a new one I don't know as I didn't see her. But the hive is certainly vital!

I don't think I'll do another inspection until after the harvest on July 6.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Carniolan Update

I finally managed to check in on my new Carniolan Queen.  I didn't need to look far; the second frame I pulled from a deep was full of lovely eggs and small larvae!  

I'll leave this lot alone until the harvest now!

Next inspection July 2.

Pre-Harvest Bounty

I stopped off at the Botanical Gardens tonight to remove a damaged frame of wax foundation in a super. However I ended up removing 4 frames of honey and giving the girls some more empties to fill!!

I suppose you could say the harvest has already begun!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ladue Bees.

Yesterday I nervously set out to inspect the hives in Ladue! Nervous, why? Because last time I went to look at them they were very aggressive and unpleasant!

I have 3 hives in Ladue now, two nucs and this nasty existing hive. My plan was to go through the nucs first to see how they are performing and then to take the supers from the nasty hive and "store" them over the nucs prior to the harvest in a couple of weeks.  I thought that by working in this way it would make harvesting any honey from the nasty hive a bit easier.

The nucs look great! Both have good Queens laying in them. But I will need some additional deeps quite soon. However I now have to confess I am wondering if they should remain strong in single deeps for the winter, or maybe I should combine them with the nasty hive to create two strong hives going into the winter!!!  I might call Eugene for advice.

Anyway instead of closing up the nucs as I found them, I put on a queen excluder and added a new super of undrawn foundation. I then went to relocate the supers from the other hive...

I should say that before I worked the nucs (and also during) I smoked the nasty hive to try to calm them and keep them calm. I think this (and the fact it was a much nicer day than the last time I did an inspection) must have worked because they were really OK this time. A couple of bees did follow me back to my car but I wasn't stung like I have been.  

I smoked supers quite heavily before pulling them off and relocating them and I didn't have any major issues! Rather than just leave the deeps I added an empty super of drawn comb to the hive just to encourage the bees to keep on keeping on!

So this means that each of my nucs are now in single deeps with full(ish) supers of honey and an undrawn super over them and the nasty hive is down to two deeps and an empty super of drawn comb.

Next time out I will harvest the supers (or at least decide how many I will take) and then think about finding the queen in the nasty hive and executing her!

Next inspection June 30.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's Been Said before...

It's been said a lot before but this image sums up quite clearly the difficulties we would face if honey bees were to disappear!  

I'm not sure if native pollinators could effectively fill the gap they would leave, so we have to be even more aware of what we are doing to our bees and what we ask of them!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Home Hive Looks Great!

My home hive, the one that I split from the over wintered colony and which raised their own Queen from a frame of brood, looks great!

I went in to do an inspection tonight to see just how hard they'd been working and I found a great number of bees in front of the hive flying about! Now there's been talk of robbing at recent meetings, and I'm not sure I've actually witnessed real robbing, but to me this looked just too relaxed!  Bees were simply flying around so I put all the activity down to test flights!

When I got in the hive I saw the two supers (that I had taken from the adjacent big hive) were full and inside the deeps there was lots of brood and eggs and larvae. I didn't see the Queen, which was a pity, but there was lots of evidence she's in there and happy. 

And no Queen Cells!  Finally swarming urges are being tempered! Well, maybe!

Anyway I laid down a challenge to the girls! I put on a new super (3 now) mostly filled with frames of foundation. They have a little over 3 weeks to draw it out and fill it! 

Next inspection 27 June.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Finally settling down!

This morning I did another inspection of the hives at the botanical gardens. These hives each have 4 supers on them.

Last time I was there I put an excluder between the deeps and supers of the  "swarm hive". I hoped I successfully chased the Queen into the deeps as she had been laying in the supers. 

Well, my strategy seems to be working! There were no eggs or larvae in the supers. The cells were capped and the cells around the larvae filled with nectar. It looks like the bees are gradually using the supers for their intended purpose.

The other hive is also settling down. No sign of any eggs of brood in the supers. I put an empty super between the deep and the supers and this is being slowly drawn out.

I don't think I need to do another inspection for a bit do it may well be a couple of weeks; perhaps the next time will be just before I harvest.

Next inspection 23 June.

Another Swarm???

I went into Diane's hive on Friday (June 7) they were a little aggressive and I got stung twice on my upper arms, through my suit!  Not very impressed! 

I have 4 supers on this hive. Three are pretty full and one us still filling, and as I was looking at the lowest super, wouldn't you know it; I saw a capped Queen Cell. I didn't have time to deal with this there and then but I did bring it up at the bee seminar later that day.

Anyway, the advice was to go and find the Queen and once I find her remove the queen cell! I might be too late given it is now nearly two days later! 

I'll take a look and maybe add a super, just to encourage the girls to fill it!

Next inspection June 15. 

I went in to the hive this morning (June 9) to see what I could see! I found a number of swarm cells but couldn't find the Queen! Lots of eggs and brood however!  Anyway, I removed all but one Queen Cell. The bees were quite well behaved. They stung my suit a few times but settled down after being smoked for a bit.

I'll go back in a couple of weeks and see if the numbers of bees look any different then!  There's no point going in before as if there is a new Queen she'll need to settle in and if there isn't a new Queen the other one will be OK by then I think!

Next inspection June 23.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bee-Vacs and Nucs.

Today I picked up two nucs for the bee yard in Ladue. I collected them from a friend in the bee club who was completing a "cut out" of a hive that was taking up residence in a chimney!  I've never seen a bee-vac in operation before and it was really quite interesting. Looks a bit dicey though!!!

Looks a bit dicey to me!

The two nucs appear to be in good order but I only saw a Queen in one of them. Time will tell if it is Queenless I suppose!

While I was there I thought I'd look in the established hive, but this is just nasty and aggressive! When I cracked open the top cover I was immediately set upon! Clearly a case for some premeditated Regicide. The Queen must go!  But when? I think once honey is harvested!

I know I'll have to go in with lots of layers on because I will get stung! I just hate knowing that!

Next inspection June 15.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I found a new Queen for my home hive!  Not an Italian but a Carniolan Queen!  What's the difference?  Well, there's a good little summary on Wikipedia.

I popped her in this afternoon and took out the cork plug. I hope by the weekend she'll be released and a few days later there will be new brood in the hive.

I took the opportunity to look in the adjacent hive. I didn't see the Queen and there was no brood in the top deep, but I did find sone larvae in the bottom deep. 

Next inspection of the home hives June 11.

My New Carniolan Queen (She's in there somewhere)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mobot Hive Inspection

I took time to go to the Gardens today and check out the hives there.  I found I had to cut back some undergrowth from in front of the hives! Everything is growing so fast right now!

Anyway both hives are doing nicely. Despite the rain in the past week there is still nectar coming in and a lot more still out there I reckon. 

The Established Hive no longer has any brood in the supers. I think putting an empty super under the brood stopped the queen from getting up into the supers now. Happy about that.

The Swarm Hive is also doing well. I really must do something about the name! There remains a lot of brood in the supers! I went through them to try to find the Queen but couldn't see her. I think, and hope, she was in the deeps. But just to make sure I applied a bit of smoke to try to force her down and then put on an excluder. I hope that means the brood will hatch and then get filled with nectar over the next month. However, if I see larvae next week I'll know she's still in the top of the hive! 

Next inspection June 9.