Robbery! Colony 11 not fine after all

The unfortunate Colony 11 has been robbed today by Colony 1. I think that I've stemmed the robbing but I will have to move Colony 11 for the second time tonight.

The action began around lunchtime today. There was a big increase in activity at the entrance of Colony 11 and Colony 1. There were bees flying widely around my garden; their flight paths were hard to follow. There were bees behind the hive and under it too. They crawled under the base board. I thought this was strange but didn't see immediately that it was robbing.

Wasps overwhelming Colony 11

Two weeks have passed since I declared that there was 'no drama'. Today Colony 11 is under severe pressure from wasp attack. Today there were maybe 3 or 4 wasps using the entrance for every bee. Inside there were far fewer bees than I would have expected and there was less honey. On the floor of the hive were a great many severed bee legs.

A bumpy start for Colony 13

I don't hold much expectation that Colony 13 will thrive. It is a small colony and vulnerable. It is building comb, but I still don't know whether there is a Queen. I haven't opened the hive. I've only looked at the hive floor, where there were wax platelets.

I had put a feeder on the hive a couple of days ago. My intention was that they should use he feed to build comb and concentrate on growing larger numbers of brood. There isn't much forage around and this is a small colony.

Hive H is stable after move

Hive H has settled in and has brood and stores.

It absconded in early August. I returned the colony to the same hive and then moved it to Headington. I put the frames to the front of the hive; fed them with Honey and made a very small entrance. This has encouraged them to produce brood and defend their entrance. I've seen lots of wasps around but none appear to have got in.

Hive B is empty

The colony in Hive B has failed or absconded. The hive is now completely empty.

The colony has always been small. In a year they built only 5 frames of comb (on National deep frames). I thought that maybe the effort of being at height had over-stressed them so I moved the colony from the out apiary to my back garden. I placed them under an apple tree in the hope that they would recover. There is good forage and they were at ground level.

Robbing Bumbles

A few days ago I saw a Bumblebee nosing around the entrance to Hive D. It was going in and coming back out again without being visibly challenged by the guard bees. I was surprised that a bee which is so obviously different to my eyes could be ignored by the guards.


Cleaners and robbers

Taking honey out of a hive will inevitably lead to equipment, empty comb and wax which is covered in a residue of honey. I don't like to waste this so I have put this in the hive or nearby for the bees to lick clean. I'm beginning to think that this is a bad idea.

The first problem is hygiene. Honey can transmit serious bee diseases such as American Foul Brood. This won't be a problem if you're able to return honey from the same hive, or at least the same apiary but it can be catastrophic.