Friday, 8 June 2012

The bees are not doing too well this year.  Up until a couple of weeks ago we were still feeding them.  Judith and Jason picked up a swarm just outside the appiary when the weather turned fine.  Jason saw the marked queen as they were putting the swarm in a hive.  She was the wrong colour to be one of out queens swarming so they must have flown in.  A couple of days later one of our colonies did swarm.  I picked them up and moved them out to Stukeley.

We are back to 5 colonies in the apiary but only the swarm appears to be queenright.  Not very good for training.  We had a training session last Monday, we ended up moving to Stukeley so the students could see breeding bees.  We have another session scheduled for tomorrow but the weather does not look too good, that might have to be called off.  I aim to get a super on the swarm in the morning if the waether is fine enough.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Spring 2012

Well the season has started well.  We had one colony die on us before Christmas but all the others came through OK.  We managed to inspect then in the week of good weather at the end of March.  The colony in hive one that I did not expect to survive is the strongest in the apiary.  Just goes to show you can't predict these things.

Weather is too cold this week to inspect, so will leave them until after Easter.  I have a new colony ready to replace the one that died over winter, but need to get the hive cleaned and disinfected first.  The new colony is not very strong yet so I might leave it at its winter home for a few more weeks,  It is right beside a field of oil seed rape.  I hope that will help it build up.

I did not get the change to update this site much last year, I intend to keep things up to date this year.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Winter Feed 6th - 8th Jan 2011

I have just been around all the hives, including the hives at Wood Green to check that the bees have enough food and are all still OK.  One of the wooden hives at Stukeley has been attacked by a woodpecker, but the bees in all hives are alive and well.

I have put home made fondant on all hives.  It is made by boiling 1 pint of water with 2 Kg of sugar, and a teaspoon of vinegar.  When it reaches 114 degrees, cool it rapidly, beating it continuously.  When you see the first streaks of white in the liquid, pour it into ice cream tubs immediately,  You only get a few seconds to do this before the candy sets.  When cold turn the tubs upside down over the feeder holes in the crown board or in the case of the Apimaye hives, slice the candy up in the built in feeders.

I willl leave them alone now until the end of February.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

31st August Checked the food level

All hives checked today.  Almost all the syrup has been taken down into the hives.  I am out of sugar so will buy some more at Bookers tomorrow and I will return on Thursday and feed them some more.

We did well at the Honey show over the weekend.  Won 10 first places, and 9 second places.  We are very pleased with the results.

29th August Feeding of the hives

Nicola and I fed all the hives a sugar syrup.

Feeding hive 3

Feeding Hive 5

19th August Treated the hives for varroa.

A couple of operations carried out today. 

The empty super was returned to hive 1 so the bees could clean it out. 

Hive 3 (the colony from Houghton Grange) was found to be queenless.  There were 3 emergency queen cells.  One of these was transfered to hive 5 in exchange for a frame of stores.

Hive 5 The queen has turned drone layer.  This means the queen has run out of sperm and the bees did not react to it in time.  A Queen cell has been transfered from hive 3.

Hives Hives 1 and 2 have been treated for varroa.  3 and 5 have been left alone until after the queen has been born and mated.

Hive 4 is still a very weak colony and has not been treated.  There is no natural mite drop so again I am going to leave them alone for now.

12th August Honey Harvest

Today we took the honey super off Hive 1.  When extracted there was 11 pound of clear light honey.

Here you can see the 10 frames in the extractor.  When the handle is turned the honey flyes out and drains to the bottom of the extractor.

Here you can see the honey draining out of the extractor into a honey bucket.  It is then put in a warming cabinet, when warm it will be filtered and put in jars.  Half will go to the staff at Wood Green, the other half I will keep to put in the Honey show, then sell to pay for some of the costs of the wax, sugar and drugs used in the hives this year.