Monday, September 7, 2015

And yet more!

Topped up the hives again!  AGAIN!

I last filled up on Friday lunchtime and here I am on Monday evening adding another 3 liters or so.  About 3 days!

They're putting it somewhere, I know they are.  

Actually, this is good stuff as all the bees that were out foraging seemed to be brining in pollen - yellow; so ivy? - the frames are filling and both hives look quite strong now.

I'll continue doing the feed as I'd like them to draw out some more comb before I call it quits for the season.

Friday, September 4, 2015

More Feed!

I refilled the feeders on Wednesday and had to do it again this afternoon (Friday)!  I'll check yet again on Sunday. 

I'm pleased they're taking so much feed but also a little concerned they are as I hoped they would have found more forage, but the weather has been mixed recently so I'm only a little worried.  I guess I'll keep feeding for as long as they want it, or as long as the weather (temperature) permits!

On other fronts; I spotted a (the?) Queen in the stronger of the two hives - this is the hive that had a single queen cell. So that answered that question I think! She's not huge but there was plenty of brood in the hive so I'm content!.

The weaker hive also looks strong now so I'm even more happy about that!

Finally there were a number of wasps buzzing around the entrance to the strong hive; more than I've seen before, but it is that time of year, so I rigged up an entrance reducer to make defense of the hive a bit easier.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Autumn Feed

Completed the first Autumn feed yesterday; I bought a couple of "division board" feeders.  I prefer these as I find they are good at preventing bee deaths (through drowning) and are easy to refill without disturbing the bees.

Both hives look good.  I did some equalizing a couple of weeks ago and the weaker of the 2 seems to have strengthened which is good news.  

So I have decided I'll feed for a short while - perhaps a couple of weeks - to see how they get on and how they fill out the combs with winter stores.  

I didn't see either of the queens during the inspection but I did see some small larvae.  So that was reasonably reassuring.  However, in one hive there was the beginnings of a single queen cell being formed.  Just one, which is curious.  It was on the bottom of a frame - swarming location - but there was only one although there was some royal jelly in it. 

So now I feel I really need to make sure there is a queen in that hive. If I don't see a queen and I see eggs I'll be happy.  The young larvae I saw were a good sign, but not as good as seeing eggs or the queen.

Anyway, I'm hoping for good weather now mid week, or Friday, in order to refill the feeders and reinspect for queens!

UPDATE: Greedy girls! Both hives have consumed the entire quantity of syrup by Wednesday evening - since Saturday - that's 4 days!  Going back with more syrup on Friday!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pre-Holiday Inspection

I'm off on holiday tomorrow so I thought it worth a peek in the hives.  I've not been in for a couple of weeks so I was keen to see what was going on.

The weaker of the two hives hasn't moved on too much and will need feeding before very long.  

The stronger hive remains in good condition. The bees haven't started on any supers yet so I think I'll pull these in a week.  Nothing is being drawn out so it seems a waste of space at this time of year.

Anyway I again took a frame of bees from the strong to the week.  I hope this is making a difference but in all honestly I don't know if I'm wasting my time.  It's the last time I'll do it this season though.

Feeding will start in earnest after my holidays!

The best news today was that I saw both queens!  They're not too big but seem to have a nice enough temperament; both hives were super placid today.

Dave unfortunately has hurt his back - slipped disc I think - so I asked if he wanted anything doing.  He asked me to put a bee escape over the brood box of one of his hives.  He warned me they were a bit feisty.  Well they certainly were!  I wasn't stung but that's only because I was in for about a minute or so; long enough to lift two supers and insert the bee escape.  Plenty long enough if you ask me!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Strengthening & Balancing

I went back to the new swarm hives yesterday.  When I last was there it was obvious the first swarm hive had been going great guns but I was a little concerned with the new swarm hive.  

It wasn't as strong as the other to start with and was I think in need of some help.  So I decided to take the pressure off the larger one and help the other.

The small hive was occupying maybe two frames whereas the bigger one was on almost all the frames in the brood box.  I took a full frame of stores and a frame of brood across to the small hive.  

I think this will boost bee numbers and also allow the new bees to grow in a period where forage may be hard to come by.  Today it has been raining constantly so I think my decision was vindicated!

We shall see!  I'll check in a week or so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Hive - Ready

I got round to assembling my new hive - at last!  And not before time too.  Dave called me yesterday to say he caught another swarm.  

They're in a nuc at the moment but will need more permanent home before very long!

So one National hive, branded with my signature logo, ready to be used!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Grand Day Out!

What a lovely day!

Still high after the inspection carried out yesterday I spent some time researching hives and asked a few people on Facebook which vendor they thought would best serve my needs. 

I got lots of good advice but I eventually settled for Thorne in Windsor. I went to their website to check their location but found they had an outlet near Stockbridge just outside Winchester (kind of).

Now it's about the same distance as their Windsor store from me, but Stockbridge is so much nicer to drive to!  A road trip on the A272 beckoned!  

I love this road between Petersfield and Winchester!  Great views across wonderful fields of wheat and some seriously good driving bends!  Oops! This is supposed to be a bee blog!

So hives... 

I have been very pleasantly surprised by Thorne's hives.  I'm used to Dadant solid pine hives which are good, utilitarian, but good. 

Thorne's hives are cedar - even their budget range - and they aren't what you call cheap, but the standard range (not budget range) is nice quality.  I'm looking forward to a weekend of assembly.  Once put together I'll post some pics of the finished product!

Anyway, after a very enjoyable time at the bee shop my wife and I (I had to drag her along) ended up at the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery in Laverstoke!  

This is only a fewinutes away and it would have been rude not to go!

The distillery is in a lovely spot at an old pape mill at the head of the River Test; as clear a river as you can imagine. And a very informative tour we had too, followed of course by a rather splendid cocktail!  

All in all its been a great couple of days, bees and gin, beautiful weather and scenery! And I'm currently cooking paella drinking some Spanish rose wine!