Oxford Bees

B Hive

Knock down update - no visible problems in either hive

Submitted by will on Wed, 01/03/2017 - 10:47

I've been keeping an eye on the two hives which were blown over during Storm Doris.

Neither is showing any significant visible sign of damage:

  • There were no dead bees on the floor of the hive (as far as I could see).
  • The fall of wax cappings appears to be the normal.
  • Hive D had some drops of honey on the removeable hive floor, but only just enough for me to taste (yum)

I'll see in a couple of months how these hives have fared. I'm still seeking data on the peak wind speed.

Hefting Data

Submitted by will on Thu, 09/02/2017 - 13:52

I returned today to the out-apiary and hefted all 3 hives there.

I used a digital scale to weigh each side. The reading varied considerably during each heft - maybe by as much as 250g each way. I did my best to get an average reading. I think the variability must have been due to the way I was using the scale.

The results show more or less what I expected:

Bees flying in February (out apiary)

Submitted by will on Tue, 07/02/2017 - 14:52

It's a warm day today (10C-12C). The bees are flying from all 3 hives in my out apiary. Presumably they're going on purging flights. I didn't see enough activity to rule out pollen collection but it seems unlikely.

I keep the removable floor in, so I was able to see tidy mounds of chewed cappings. There were some flakes of fresh wax amongst it in hives C and D, suggesting that there has been some brood rearing. I didn't establish how much, nor whether it's going on now.

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.

A visitor

Submitted by will on Tue, 02/08/2016 - 21:31

Paul visited my out apiary. I needed an experienced view of what was going on. He has Warre hives and so was interested in the site and the hives.

The inspection went well until near the end.

Hive B was still small but there was fresh brood, showing that their supersedure had been successful. They had formed a neat sphere of comb, more obvious because it was foundationless. They'll go into winter with sufficient stores but in need of insulation.

Happy Bees, and a correction about roaring

Submitted by will on Tue, 19/07/2016 - 14:51

There's a honey flow on. All the hives in my out-apiary have stores now and there's a lot of activity. The bees are noticeably better tempered.

The roaring that I heard recently was probably the bees fanning, to cool the hive and evaporate excess water from the honey. I knocked on the side of A Hive this morning (the one which roared); they revved for a moment and then calmed down. Not queenless, just busy.

An interregnum

Submitted by will on Mon, 18/07/2016 - 05:25

I looked into Hive B a few days ago and found no brood and no Queen. The colony is quite small so she probably wasn't hiding.

Is there a virgin Queen waiting to take over? That would be reasonable following the supersedure which I saw in progress at the start of the month. I will have to look again to see whether brood returns. What happens if the colony is unable to create a new Queen? I'm unsure.

Brood in every hive

Submitted by will on Thu, 16/06/2016 - 13:35

I had another peek into hives B, C and D today. I found brood in all 3 hives. This is not the same as the brood which I moved. It's new brood on the new comb. The brood in D must have been there last time I looked.

The bees are building fresh comb. Over time they line brood cells with propolis, causing it to darken. When it's fresh, the comb is very white and gives almost no contrast to the larvae. That might be why I missed it.

Brood should mean an active Queen and a hive ready to build up it's strength. That's welcome news.