Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Am I losing it?

First I was organised, then surprised, now I'm into a bit of self doubt!

I went through the old "combined" tall hive with the tower of boxes in the hope I'd be able to sort things out a bit.

Last time out I found the bee escapes hadn't worked and I also found I had a Queen above a bee escape in a super of brood. So I made up a hive from that super of brood, the "harvested" heather honey and the deep I was trying to clear.

This time out decided to just go through the tall hive and remove bee escapes and have a look to see what's been going on.

Nothing above the queen excluder - just capped and uncapped honey. There is one full super and three partially full ones on this hive. There is also a deep under a queen excluder - and in this deep/brood box?  I found brood!  So there I was trying to combine two hives each with a queen! D'oh!

I went through this hive a couple of weeks ago and had convinced myself there was no brood. I thought it needed help! Now I'm confused. Perhaps a couple of weeks ago there was a dearth of forage and she simply shut down for a rest? 

Anyway I just hope I did no lasting damage. I wasn't able to complete going through the tall hive - I'd really love to find the queen in order to satisfy myself there really is one and not some kind of skinny queen that could get across bee escapes and queen excluders! 

Maybe I need a break! I think I need a better, more effective, bee escape!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

So much for being prepared

I was all set last week... Then reality hit!

We extracted about 7.5 kgs of honey from one of the supers we took off, last week; so far so good.  The other super was however stuffed full of heather honey so we couldn't extract any of it! Agghhhh!

We had planned to put the empty supers back on the hives for the bees to clean up. Now we're going to put the honey back as winter feed!

To compound the issues, the bee escapes didn't do their job.  So where we were originally planning to remove a cleared deep and super we now were fighting off a load of bees happily residing in the hive!

So after the surprise yesterday (and a hasty retreat given the gloomy weather) I went back this morning.  I put the heather honey immediately above the brood chamber, and the cleared frame above this. Then went on a bee escape (fingers crossed this time) and the supers I added from the combined hive last week (yes, that seemed to have worked ok) and finally the deep and super I had from the other hive that didn't clear. 

Outer cover
Inner cover
Bee escape
Super - for cleaning
Super - full of heather honey
Queen excluder
Base board

This is now quite a tall hive that one way or another next week will be significantly smaller. If the supers clear we will extract them or leave on as feed!

It all seems a bit pointless planning ahead! We will see where we are next week.