Oxford Bees

Colony 11

Colony 11 still angry after its reorganisation yesterday

Submitted by will on Sun, 03/06/2018 - 19:44

I visited the apiary where Colony 11 is sited this evening. They are still angry 24 hours after I reorganised the hive in a failed attempt to extract the lid of a nucleus box. They bumped against head when I came within 5m. When I had my veil on and got closer they went into attack behaviour (high pitched buzzing; staying in one place on the veil; jabbing movements with their abdomens). I hope that they calm down and don't spend the season being angry.

An attempt to extract the nucleus lid from Hive C

Submitted by will on Sat, 02/06/2018 - 21:38

Colony 11 arrived in a nucleus box from a member of my bee keeping group. The box did not contain frames so the bees had started to build comb on the roof of the box. Today I tried to remove the box with mixed success.

Mission not accomplished. I now have a double height hive with the Queen in the top part.

When I received the nucleus box I took the bees out of the body of it and placed the roof on top of a Commercial hive body. The remaining space was packed with framed comb. The top was packed with a wooden board because the nuc' roof sat on top of the hive body.

I hoped that the bees would move onto the framed comb but it seems that they have started filling it with pollen and honey. There is sealed brood on the comb which is attached to the nuc' roof.

My aim today was to place another commercial box on top of the first. The Queen would be on the framed comb in the lower box; the nuc' lid would be in the upper box. The sealed brood on the nuc' roof would hatch out and then I could remove it at leisure whilst the Queen worked in the lower box.

Some of my plan happened. I placed a Queen excluder on the ground and placed the new box on it. I removed the packing wood and then gently lifted the nuc' box lid out. There was very little damage to the comb. I looked at the comb on the lid and saw sealed brood but didn't see the Queen. I placed the nuc 'lid in the new box and packed the lower box with framed comb. I packed the upper box with framed comb up to the nuc lid. I put the two parts together with an excluder between them.

I had hoped that the Queen would run out of the nuc' lid into the darker body of the lower box but it almost certainly didn't happen. There was no safe way to extract.

I'm no closer to removing the lid or the comb attached to it. I now have a hive whose internal organisation is disrupted. They may settle down nicely but there's a danger that they won't guard their doors adequately because the brood nest is too far from the entrance. That mistake may have compromised Colony 09 in Hive H last year. I don't know how to sort this out now.

Colony 11 Settled in Hive C

Submitted by will on Tue, 29/05/2018 - 21:27

I'm happy to say that my transfer of Colony 11 from its nucleus box to Hive C have been successful. There is pollen on the hive floor; debris from cleaning of the framed comb and evidence of new comb building. There was also lots of activity at the hive entrance.

The less welcome news is that the comb building is happening beneath the nuc' box lid. I had hoped that they would move onto the framed comb and leave the lid area alone. That hasn't happened so I'll have to do something a bit more destructive to sort the hive out so that it has only framed comb in it.

A complicated arrangement for Colony 11

Submitted by will on Thu, 24/05/2018 - 14:09

At lunchtime today I successfully removed the nucleus body which Colony 11 had travelled in.

They had almost all moved down into the hive body but there were now several entrances. I removed the nuc' body and arranged it so that it is part of the hive roof. The area of the hive body not covered by the roof is packed out with wood. A regular lid is on top of that

There was a bit of confusion when the entrances were reduced to one. Some gathered in odd places; many just flew around. I could see that it was settling down. There may have been some fanning from the remaining entrance.

I'm leaving them for today. I will inspect the removable floor tomorrow to see where they're most active. If there is new comb being built under the nuc' lid then it'll be hard to extract it. If they're cleaning out framed comb then it should be much easier.

Colony 11 arrives in a Nucleus

Submitted by will on Thu, 24/05/2018 - 06:50

Colony 11 appears to be a feral colony which was forced out of a roof by building work. It was collected by a member of my bee group and put into a nucleus box. Unfortunately the colony was behaving very aggressively so she gave it up.

I collected the colony last night in its nuc' box. As I gently wheeled it on the back of my bike I could smell the alarm pheromones coming from the ventilation on the top of the box.

When I arrived at my out-apiary I moved the hive box from the stand where Hive C was positioned. I then placed the nuc' on top and went home.

This morning I awoke to fairly heavy rain. There were puddles showing that it had been raining for some time. The nuc' box is ventilated at the top so that rain can get in. I decided to move them to a hive with a roof as soon as possible.

The nuc' box does not have frames in it, so the bees are building comb which is anchored to the box. This presents a tricky problem: How do I transfer them? The lid of the box -- which the comb is fastened to -- fits across about half of a national hive body. I decided to move the roof of the nuc' into Hive C and pack the remaining space with framed comb. I took a large piece of wood which will pack the top of the hive so that it is level with the nuc' roof. Put together the hive is part nuc lid with free comb and part framed comb. I hope that the bees will prefer the framed comb. Experience has taught me that they seldom do what I hope.

I arrived at about 0530 this morning. The temperature was around 10C and it was raining steadily. The bees were not flying. I moved the nuc' off its stand; arranged the framed comb to the correct size and then lifted the lid into the hive. Some of the free comb stayed attached to the body of the nuc'. A large number of the bees stayed in the nuc' box too. I didn't try to find the Queen. I just placed the nuc' body on top of the area of framed comb, secured it with a hive strap and left them to work out what was best for them*. I'll go back later today to see what they've done. If the Queen was on the comb then I hope that they'll move down to her. If she's still in the nuc' body then I'm not sure what I'll do. The bees were seen bringing in pollen before I took the nuc' box last night, which suggests brood. She should be with the brood, which give me hope that she's inside the body of the hive rather than the nuc'.