Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Nice Surprise

I had planned, yesterday, to simply remove the "full" super I knew I had.  I had also some sketchy plans with Dave to do some inspections on the other hives and so we arranged to meet late morning.

To my surprise Dave had managed to find space and the equipment to extract the honey from the super, so while I removed frames he removed the cappings and extracted what I think is in the order of 8kgs (18lbs) of honey.

To my surprise the other two supers on the hive have also filled in the course of the last week.  I reckon there has been a nectar flow from local Lime trees so hopefully there's another fifteen kilos or more to come in; all very nice.  It will be interesting to see the difference between the two extracted honeys.  I think lime honey is quite light; yesterdays harvest was quite amber and strong in taste, but still very pleasant.

Apart form the extraction I took a look through 3 of the 4 hives.

Hive 1:  I found a frame of eggs in Hive 2 and donated this to Dave's hive.  Hopefully there will be some suitable eggs for the bees to make a new queen from.  If not, Dave said he might buy in a new queen. There is some honey in the supers, not as much as I would have hoped for, but with the Lime trees blooming there is hope these will fill as well.

Hive 2: We will remove the remaining two supers from this hive next week.  Otherwise, it appears to be in good shape.  I didn't go through it in great depth.

Hive 4: I didn't look at this hive.  It was recovering well from the poor state it was in about 6 weeks ago.  I'll take a closer look next weekend.

Hive 3: Dave told me this hive swarmed in the week.  But there were so may bees in it I'm not too sure this really can be the case. I nevertheless attempted to go through the supers to reorganize them; I had planned to put frames of honey in one super and brood in another and separate the two with a Queen Excluder.  But there was so much brood in the supers and so many agitated bees I left them alone.

I'm fairly sure they will swarm in the week (or by next weekend) as there were several capped Queen Cells present.  Either way, a reduction in bees might not be such a bad thing.  If they have swarmed by the weekend I may go through and try to remove some remaining Queen Cells to try and stop
further cast swarms.  One idea we had was to put the remaining QCs in Hive 1.  We shall see what happens and decide on a course of action next weekend.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Queens still missing but Supers are coming...

So Dave's hive didn't have a queen in it and it therefore remains broodless, which is a bit annoying. Dave will hopefully find a frame of eggs to donate to the hive later this week and we'll start all over again!

And we're not quite there with removing the supers but we did at least put a bee escape under the full super yesterday!  Dave will take this off in the week - getting quite excited now! I reckon we'll have about 30lbs.

And we also had a little extra help this Friday from Rob.  I think he's a little bored at home. Too much time on his hands after completing his exams!  Still I'm Not complaining.  It was nice to have him come along.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Alternative Universes!

This may be the first time I've blogged about wasps!  But I was asked by my Dad to look in his attic as he thought there might be a wasps nest up there!

Yep!  Found it!  What a beauty!

Lots of brood coming along too!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Things have moved on!

It's been a month since my last post, which in June is an age in beekeeping terms...  Things, quite predictably, have moved on...

Hive 1: Well, this hive is still Queenless, I'm not sure why but I had to drop a donor frame of eggs in it from Hive 2.  The good news is that there are now 4 or 5 capped queen cells in the hive and I hope in a couple of weeks there'll be a new laying queen.

Hive 2:  This is still quite strong.  Supers remain full or filling - I must pull one soon.  I've donated eggs to other hives from this colony and they seem to be doing ok. Need to consolidate the deeps.

Hive 4, Artificial Swarm:  This nearly collapsed.  I had a case of sacbrood and I lost the queen. However, I have successfully donated a frame of eggs from Hive 2 and the colony now looks good with a nice strong brood pattern.  I have removed a deep and some old frames of comb. 

Hopefully the broodless periods in Hives 1 and 4 mean it's hit any varroa mites hard and their numbers are down!  Every cloud has a silver lining I guess!

Hive 3:  This is the swarm hive.  The queen excluder was pulled a couple of weeks ago and there is brood throughout the supers and deep.  It's a healthy mess, and a feisty one!  I did not spend long in it as they were a bit too pissy today!


So I'll wait a couple of weeks before going back into Hive 1.

Hive 2 needs to be consolidated into 1 deep and to have a super pulled.  I need a nice warm day for this; the bees were a bit tetchy today.

Hive 4 is ok and I'll leave it alone.

Hive 3 needs sorting out. I think I'll need to isolate the queen in a single deep and let the supers clear.