Storm Caroline blew through overnight. It was worst in Scotland but we had higher winds. All 5 hives in my out apiary stayed upright. During my check this morning I also found evidence of activity in all 5: brood and honey cell cappings on the hive floor. The entrances are all clear.
It has been hurricane season in North America and the Caribbean. We get their weather second hand. No sharp edges or extremes, just a bit out of the ordinary.
Tonight we are forecast to have winds gusting up to 45mph (72km/h; 39 knots). That's a big blow for England but still only Beaufort Force 8 Gale.
I visited my roof top apiary this evening to fit the hive straps. It's bad news for the hives to blow over, but even worse if they break apart. They won't break apart now.
My out-apiary is under sustained attack from wasps.
There are dozens around the apiary. They concentrate their attention on the weakest hives. This has turned out to be hives F and H.
I caught a swarm today. It was small - perhaps about the size of an orange once it had clustered. It was stuck to the side of the building where my out-apiary is. I suppose that it came from one of my hives.
I boxed the swarm this afternoon and then moved it to the roof this evening.
The swarm is surely too small to survive the winter so I'm considering adding it to hive H, which is has too few bees.
EDIT 12/08/2017 - this colony of bees had absconded from Hive H.
I had a look into the hives in my out-apiary yesterday. There hasn't been much going on during July to comment on.
All the hives are showing activity. but either there isn't much nectar or they're working on brood production. All the usual pollen, Varroa and cappings which show brood activity. Very little new wax and generally little expansion in stores within the supers.
I think that there has been less nectar, or that the bees have had to travel further for it. Maybe they're expanding brood but I don't have evidence for that.
Last weekend my bee group visited my out-apiary in Oxford.
It was a small gathering - 8 people. It might have been larger if I hadn't promised an Attack of the Killer Bees to all who ventured onto the roof. Hive E had been very stressed and its' aggression was difficult to handle.
On the day all the bees were very calm. I don't exactly know why. I think that the June nectar gap may have contributed. My interventions might also have been at fault.
I had a look at the hive floors in the out-apiary this morning. In the order which I looked at them:
Hive G: lots more comb built. Small numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive F: lots more comb built. Large numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive D: lots of activity - evidence suggesting a large number of emerged brood. Large numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive E: quieter than C and D. Some evidence of brood emerging
Hive C: lots of activity - evidence suggesting a large number of emerged brood. Relatively small numbers of dropped Varroa.
I went to the visit the bees at my out-apiary this morning. I took the lids off the hives but left the brood area alone (except for Hive F) because the air temperature was cool. Everything was finished by 0630.
A side effect of looking at hives in the early morning is that all their flying bees are still in the hive. These are the bees which are most likely to defend the colony. As a result the bees seemed noticeably more angry when I opened the hives.
All the hives have plenty of space, with the possible exception of E.
Yesterday I was called to my out-apiary because of a swarm. It had settled in a tree right in front of the building where my elevated hives are kept. The swarm was about 10m up the tree; the hives are at a height of about 20m. There was no way to reach the swarm.
Last night I moved Hive E to my out-apiary and returned Hive B to my home. The move went well with no problems.
Hive E contains the feral swarm from Barton caught at the very start of August 2016. It built up strongly before Autumn and is now a vigorous colony. I wanted it to be in central Oxford where its' strength is a match for the position - lots of forage but a big climb to the roof. I wanted Hive B to be in my garden where it can quietly tick along without bothering family or neighbours.
There are dangers in moving an occupied hive: