Oxford Bees

Sparrows

Submitted by will on Tue, 02/05/2017 - 14:09

For the second year running the Sparrows are foraging.

There were quite a few bees crawling near my home hives in a state of moribund helplessness. There was no chance that they could get to the hive entrance and even if they did I doubt whether the guards would have let them back in. Some may have been exhausted, but most either had deformed wings or paralysis. No way back.

Their distress has attracted a few sparrows who feed on them. They perch on nearby fences; they perform a fluttering swoop to grab a bee on the ground; they fly off quickly.

Hive A dropping one Varroa mite per hour

Submitted by will on Sun, 23/04/2017 - 21:40

I've been looking at the removable floor of Hive A. There is a steady fall of Varroa mites there. I checked three times and the average is about one mite falling per hour. Some were still alive; a few were clearly immature.

This rate of mite drop puts the colony at severe risk of colony collapse, according to the BeeBase document "Managing Varroa".

Cleaners and robbers

Submitted by will on Thu, 20/04/2017 - 11:45

Taking honey out of a hive will inevitably lead to equipment, empty comb and wax which is covered in a residue of honey. I don't like to waste this so I have put this in the hive or nearby for the bees to lick clean. I'm beginning to think that this is a bad idea.

The first problem is hygiene. Honey can transmit serious bee diseases such as American Foul Brood. This won't be a problem if you're able to return honey from the same hive, or at least the same apiary but it can be catastrophic.