Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Autumn Feed

Completed the first Autumn feed yesterday; I bought a couple of "division board" feeders.  I prefer these as I find they are good at preventing bee deaths (through drowning) and are easy to refill without disturbing the bees.

Both hives look good.  I did some equalizing a couple of weeks ago and the weaker of the 2 seems to have strengthened which is good news.  

So I have decided I'll feed for a short while - perhaps a couple of weeks - to see how they get on and how they fill out the combs with winter stores.  

I didn't see either of the queens during the inspection but I did see some small larvae.  So that was reasonably reassuring.  However, in one hive there was the beginnings of a single queen cell being formed.  Just one, which is curious.  It was on the bottom of a frame - swarming location - but there was only one although there was some royal jelly in it. 

So now I feel I really need to make sure there is a queen in that hive. If I don't see a queen and I see eggs I'll be happy.  The young larvae I saw were a good sign, but not as good as seeing eggs or the queen.

Anyway, I'm hoping for good weather now mid week, or Friday, in order to refill the feeders and reinspect for queens!

UPDATE: Greedy girls! Both hives have consumed the entire quantity of syrup by Wednesday evening - since Saturday - that's 4 days!  Going back with more syrup on Friday!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pre-Holiday Inspection

I'm off on holiday tomorrow so I thought it worth a peek in the hives.  I've not been in for a couple of weeks so I was keen to see what was going on.

The weaker of the two hives hasn't moved on too much and will need feeding before very long.  

The stronger hive remains in good condition. The bees haven't started on any supers yet so I think I'll pull these in a week.  Nothing is being drawn out so it seems a waste of space at this time of year.

Anyway I again took a frame of bees from the strong to the week.  I hope this is making a difference but in all honestly I don't know if I'm wasting my time.  It's the last time I'll do it this season though.

Feeding will start in earnest after my holidays!

The best news today was that I saw both queens!  They're not too big but seem to have a nice enough temperament; both hives were super placid today.

Dave unfortunately has hurt his back - slipped disc I think - so I asked if he wanted anything doing.  He asked me to put a bee escape over the brood box of one of his hives.  He warned me they were a bit feisty.  Well they certainly were!  I wasn't stung but that's only because I was in for about a minute or so; long enough to lift two supers and insert the bee escape.  Plenty long enough if you ask me!