Oxford Bees

Colony 05

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.

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.

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.

Looking for brood in the new colonies

Submitted by will on Sat, 11/06/2016 - 06:27

I had a quick look into hives B, C and D yesterday afternoon. The news is mixed.

The best news is that I see no evidence of AFB. I'm not experienced enough to be certain so I'll continue to keep a lookout. I'll also review the NBU Foulbrood Diseases advisory leaflet.