Oxford Bees

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.

Settling E Hive for the Autumn

Submitted by will on Sat, 27/08/2016 - 21:13

E Hive, the swarm from Barton, has been in a Nucleus box for nearly a month. That was too long so today I put them into a full hive.

I hadn't meant for it to take so long but they were getting on fine. There were plenty of bees; they were foraging; they had brood. Also, I didn't have a serviceable box. I glued; I hammered; I rearranged other hives. Now they have a National Brood, floor with Varroa screen, roof and an innovation.