Oxford Bees

Unwanted visitors

Submitted by will on Wed, 19/04/2017 - 14:05

I took the roof off Hive E today. This is the late swarm from 2016 which is housed in a small derelict greenhouse.

I had put an insulating box between the brood box and the roof. I'd seen ants going up and down the hive. What I hadn't expected was that the ants had set up a nest in the insulated roof. There were lots of black ants, some eggs and a few immature grubs.

I can see now that the insulated roof would be ideal for an ant nest. Defensible; warm, well ventilated and with an immense food store nearby.

April build up

Submitted by will on Sat, 08/04/2017 - 13:07

I visited the out-apiary today and opened the 3 hives there. There is evidence of brood, new comb and stores in all of them. There's evidence of a nectar flow, which isn't much of a surprise given that Oxford is swathed in spring blossoms.

Hive B is still relatively small but ticking along nicely. There are plenty of stores and reasonable coverage of brood. I haven't added space because there are empty frames in the brood area.

How wax moth might benefit a hive

Submitted by will on Sun, 02/04/2017 - 22:03

I saw a quite large number of wax moth cocoons during the extraction of the feral bee colony in South Leigh. Paul and I were talking about what happens to very old comb. He says that the bees eventually cut the old comb and let it fall. It occurred to me that cavities must eventually become clogged with sections of old comb, unless something else eats it. One candidate would be wax moth.

If wax moths operate around the edge of colonies and in its litter then perhaps they provide some service to the bees, rather than simply being a pest.

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