Oxford Bees

Dark Bees?

Submitted by will on Tue, 27/09/2016 - 22:11

The late swarm which I caught at the end of July has settled in. It appears to be vigorous and there were many bees flying today. I noticed that they were darker and smaller than I remember from the collection.

It may have been the overcast day which made them look darker. I may be mis-remembering. Seven weeks have passed since I caught the swarm so it's possible that these are new brood.

Preparing for winter

Submitted by will on Sun, 25/09/2016 - 20:39

I seem to have taken a break since the end of August. Today I sorted looked in on the bees.

They won't have been swarming so late in the season so there won't have been much doing (I think) besides a nectar flow from the Ivy. If they fill their stores with Ivy honey it won't be terrible (except that  Ivy sets hard).

I have some eke's (low rise boxes usually used to house feeders). I've stapled some hessian into them and filled the cavity with straw. I wanted sawdust but it wasn't available. These are supposed to insulate the roof of each hive.

Warm Hives and Innovations

Submitted by will on Sat, 27/08/2016 - 21:25

There's been quite a bit of talk in my bee group about the importance of warm hives. There are some reasonable arguments. I haven't found an academic article to back up this view yet, but that may come in time.

The honey bee rears brood at 35C-36C. When the hive is cooler than that the nurse bees will warm the brood with their abdomens. This thermo-regulation assists the developing brood, presumably by enabling enzymatic reactions. Varroa are said to favour cooler brood conditions, but I have no evidence to offer for this.