Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New hive on the way!

Finally, after much prevarication and comparison of prices online I jumped in and bought a new hive.

For the first time ever (yes really) I purchased an assembled hive.  Not only that, I found it on eBay which is definitely not my usual source of equipment.   I normally go for flat pack equipment direct from a known manufacturer.  However, this looks a good deal and I'm prepared to give it a try.

Once it arrives I'll update you all on what I found.  If this proves a successful approach I'll probably buy another.  Anyway, the first hive is to rehouse the bees that are currently squatting in one of Dave's hives, as that will free up some space for us to do some swarm control later in the spring (although right now how soon that is, is anyone's guess - it's so mild).

The possible second hive will be either for my start at home or a start at another location that is close home. I've not firmed up on either option.

Slowly slowly, I'm building...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A wet winter day...

What to do today?...

I fed the bees yesterday.  I feel that's a good thing given its so nasty today and the forecast isn't much better for the week ahead. More as a preventative measure than an emergency "treatment".

I used "Teds Sugar Mush" which is 8 parts granulated sugar to 1 part water - about 12.5% moisture content.  The bees will eat the sugar when it hardens by adding a little water to it. They will not store it in cells.  [My thanks to the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association for the recipe - it has stood me in good stead in the past!]

So for those of you who prefer to use measurements (please excuse the use of imperial measures) this might help you;

Mix 4lbs sugar to 1 cup (8oz) water in a small pail, or in a 1gal ziplock bag.  

I also made a couple of shims to go under the inner covers to make sure the feed in the bags could fit in the hive.  

I didn't do an inspection as such but when I popped the covers I found lots of bees in quite a large cluster, maybe over 4 or 5 frames.  My take away from this: they look in really good shape!  It always worries me that there isn't enough food for them either in the hive or to forage at this time of year.  However, I'm usually proved wrong!

So I now think I will need to order a couple of Queens for the spring as I will likely have to split the hives!  Great news as I want to expand and also replace/restock the hive that died out last autumn. 

So now it's a wet day ahead and I'm reading bee magazines!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

At last a warm, dry, day in January!

I managed to find time to visit the hives on Monday.  It was a very mild sunny morning (13C) so I wanted to see what, if any, action was apparent.  I had last been to see them last week when it was much colder and although they were clearly alive there was no activity outside the hives. 

I did not carry out an inspection as really there really wasn't anything I could have done to help them out.  I had no feed or "mush" prepared or with me.  However, it was great to see plenty of flying and cleaning and foraging going on!

It's a curious time of year. I never really know what to expect from the hives but they always surprise me.  I don't know why.  Bees have been over wintering for millions of years and so know a thing or two more than I do.  Still, they appear to be bursting with life, but I still think I may put some 4:1 "mush" on when i get a chance...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas peek!

The weather was warm and dry enough today to allow me to get over to the bees and have a quick look to see what's happening - no inspection you understand - I just watched for any activity, hefted the hives and looked quickly under the outer cover.

It appears to be good news.

The hives are reasonably heavy, there was a little activity and some grey pollen (willow?) was being brought in.  Under the outer cover I could see a nice tight cluster in the middle of the hive.

So it looks good!  If I manage to get to see them during a nice warm snap I'll consider feeding them, but right now I'll
leave them alone.  They know what they're doing!

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.