Friday, July 24, 2015

Strengthening & Balancing

I went back to the new swarm hives yesterday.  When I last was there it was obvious the first swarm hive had been going great guns but I was a little concerned with the new swarm hive.  

It wasn't as strong as the other to start with and was I think in need of some help.  So I decided to take the pressure off the larger one and help the other.

The small hive was occupying maybe two frames whereas the bigger one was on almost all the frames in the brood box.  I took a full frame of stores and a frame of brood across to the small hive.  

I think this will boost bee numbers and also allow the new bees to grow in a period where forage may be hard to come by.  Today it has been raining constantly so I think my decision was vindicated!

We shall see!  I'll check in a week or so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Hive - Ready

I got round to assembling my new hive - at last!  And not before time too.  Dave called me yesterday to say he caught another swarm.  

They're in a nuc at the moment but will need more permanent home before very long!

So one National hive, branded with my signature logo, ready to be used!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Grand Day Out!

What a lovely day!

Still high after the inspection carried out yesterday I spent some time researching hives and asked a few people on Facebook which vendor they thought would best serve my needs. 

I got lots of good advice but I eventually settled for Thorne in Windsor. I went to their website to check their location but found they had an outlet near Stockbridge just outside Winchester (kind of).

Now it's about the same distance as their Windsor store from me, but Stockbridge is so much nicer to drive to!  A road trip on the A272 beckoned!  

I love this road between Petersfield and Winchester!  Great views across wonderful fields of wheat and some seriously good driving bends!  Oops! This is supposed to be a bee blog!

So hives... 

I have been very pleasantly surprised by Thorne's hives.  I'm used to Dadant solid pine hives which are good, utilitarian, but good. 

Thorne's hives are cedar - even their budget range - and they aren't what you call cheap, but the standard range (not budget range) is nice quality.  I'm looking forward to a weekend of assembly.  Once put together I'll post some pics of the finished product!

Anyway, after a very enjoyable time at the bee shop my wife and I (I had to drag her along) ended up at the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery in Laverstoke!  

This is only a fewinutes away and it would have been rude not to go!

The distillery is in a lovely spot at an old pape mill at the head of the River Test; as clear a river as you can imagine. And a very informative tour we had too, followed of course by a rather splendid cocktail!  

All in all its been a great couple of days, bees and gin, beautiful weather and scenery! And I'm currently cooking paella drinking some Spanish rose wine!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Beekeeper!

I just completed my first inspection of my new UK bees.  To say I'm excited is a bit of an understatement!

It's been raining on and off today and I was a little concerned the bees would be a bit moody.  But by 2pm it had dried up and they proved to be on their best behavior; calm and easy to work.

Dave and I installed the swarm a little under a month ago. We fed them about 7 or 8 liters of syrup in the first week but since then we left them alone to get on with things.

Dave has been watching them over the month and has seen plenty of activity so we had no cause for any concern.  And so it proved today!

They're in a national hive which is smaller than I'm used to but I like the size, and especially the reduced weights, of the frames! For those interested they are in the "warm" configuration!

So, in the last month 5 frames have been fully drawn out. Two are full with capped honey and three have lots of nice capped dense brood. A classic pattern of brood, pollen and honey stores was evident on the frame - the photo above picks it out well.

I didn't see the queen, but there was no need to as everything was in order; young larvae, calm bees, no queen cells. All good reasons to be a happy beekeeper today!