Oxford Bees

First peek inside a hive, 2017

Submitted by will on Sat, 18/03/2017 - 12:05

There was a strong wind last night - warnings of gusts up to 40mph. Thankfully my hives remained upright. The weather was still windy when I visited Hive D this morning at 11am, but it was just about warm enough to lift the lid.

I had been concerned that the bees were too cramped in Hive D. I also found wisps of the hessian which I've used to contain the straw in the insulated box. I imagined that the bees were brimming over and chewing through the hessian.

Winter Losses: 5-NIL

Submitted by will on Sun, 12/03/2017 - 14:55

Colonies can fail over winter. Surveys suggest that about 10% fail in a good year; more in a bad one. At the moment, none of my colonies have failed. I'm happy.

It's too early to be certain that all will survive into summer. Each colony will strike a balance between brood production and foraging. If they make too much brood when the forage is poor, they may starve.

Failure can happen because of disease, starvation or an external event. There are lots of diseases and lots of events. There is only one cause of starvation.

Identifying Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

Submitted by will on Thu, 09/03/2017 - 19:09

Do some of my bees have CBPV? Today I watched 5 bees at the entrance to Hive D. They were on the ground below the landing board. They weren't moving much. Two or three of them were considerably darker than I'd expect.

Could it be the weather? Perhaps these bees were just chilled. Am I a Bee Hypochondriac? Certainly I have no idea whether this hive has this disease.