Oxford Bees

Wonky Comb

Submitted by will on Wed, 19/04/2017 - 14:16

I stopped putting foundation in my hives a while ago (see Frames without foundation). Foundation seems unnecessary to the low intervention bee keeper. Its principal benefit is to make extraction and inspection easier. I outlined in the article how shallow frames can be extracted without wired foundation. Inspection is also much the same. You just have to be slower and more gentle.

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.