out apiary

Drift

Submitted by will on Wed, 10/08/2016 - 07:21

My out-apiary is windy. It's up on a building and almost unshielded from the wind. The consequence is that returning bees get blown around when trying to land. The wind blows from the side, causing bees from Hives C and D to be blown across the fronts of their neighbours. I suppose that this increases the possibility of drift. I haven't seen it happening.

It's almost comical when I sit downwind of the 3 hives. I periodically get covered in a cloud of bees.

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.

Angry Bees

Submitted by will on Sun, 03/07/2016 - 22:05

The bees were angry today. They attacked. They followed. They found the gaps around my shoes and stung my feet. They stung through my gloves. They were cross.

Hungry bees are angry bees. The bees are hungry so I'm feeding them.

There may be other reasons for them being so defensive.

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.

A decision not to treat for Varroa in my out-apiary

Submitted by will on Thu, 02/06/2016 - 20:38

The point of this website is to collate information about Varroa biology, controls and treatments. I want to understand how to cope with Varroa.

My participation in the ReViVe project requires that I do not treat or control for Varroa. This does not mean leaving them entirely alone. I will continue to monitor the two hives for mite drop and for other bee diseases. I probably won't use the more invasive methods of swarm control. I will hopefully take some of the surplus honey.

This is a deliberate decision not to treat or control. It feels like quite a bold step.

Joining the ReViVe project

Submitted by will on Thu, 02/06/2016 - 19:32

BBKA News ran an article in June about a new project to study Deformed Wing Virus in untreated hives: the ReViVe project*. This is part of Professor S. Martin's research group in University of Salford.

I contacted the PhD student who is undertaking the study and offered my two new hives. These have come from a feral swarm and have not been treated or controlled for Varroa.

The two hives are now part of that study. I have sample tubes to fill with bees for testing. I'm wondering how to persuade the live bees into the tubes. It's going to be tricky.

C and D hives building comb; foraging. Confirmed Varroa in D hive

Submitted by will on Mon, 30/05/2016 - 18:26

I visited C and D in central Oxford today. Both hives are building comb. They were both very calm so I didn't need smoke. I just gently opened each hive up and took a look.

Neither hive have any brood yet, so there's no way to be sure whether they have AFB.

I didn't see the queens in either hive.

C Hive

C was populated before D. The bees are building in the super, which is unwelcome but expected. There is lots of new comb partially filled with honey. They've building toward the front of the hive (shown by the wax drop on the hive floor).