BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • What have you done today bee-related?

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #7329  by stechad
 23 May 2020, 14:10
Comment of the day from the misses "The wind has blown the wind away, you can get the bees done now"
inspected what I could then the heavens opened.
no1 all ok loads of brood all stages plenty stores but still not bringing in honey (GM queen arriving next wednesday for this)
No2 re-queened on wednesday with a Buckfast from wild yorks honey, all capped brood now emerged but queen not yet laying, given syrup in frame feeder to help build new foundation.
No5 5 frame nuc of a split from a friends overflowing colony, about 8 queen cells at least 2 charged......then the rain came, fed syrup and shut up.
 #7380  by NigelP
 25 May 2020, 13:07
OSR and Hawthorn ......
One of my out apiaries is just finishing off the last of the OSR which is about 500 ms from then, about another week to end of flower. Typical of a strong flow they are filling the brood frames in the top brood box with capped honey rather than move it all into the supers....so will have to get them all sorted out and extract.
Another is nowhere near any OSR and is working Hawthorn which is quite unusual, I can smell the characteristic "cat Pee" smell when I opened up the supers. This happens about once every 5 years around here.
It is nice to have some "proper" spring blossom honey now that so few farmers are growing OSR.
Looks like I'm going to busy extracting next week.
 #7386  by Japey Edge
 25 May 2020, 19:34
Today was a bit bonkers and had some undesirable knock-on effects. I thought on my feet and did some things that were less than ideal but I can live with.

1. Queenless nuc is making QCs. There were three. I reduced them to the biggest and nicest and left them to it
2. The colony that swarmed and was previously of unknown status - has a queen that is laying. She's not very big. My "assistant" tried to catch her but she flew away and headed toward the entrance of the swarm hive. Now this colony is back to unknown status.
3. Swarm has drawn plenty of comb from foundation in the 5 days they have had a hive. I took out the QE from underneath and had a quick look for eggs. I found eggs so I looked for queen. Found queen - huge. Caught her in a marking tube with plunger and passed her to my lovely assistant to mark and clip. Marked her green just so I could hopefully spot her quicker in future inspections.
4. Now this is where it gets crazy. My original plan was to requeen the colony with the queen that flew away. Instead, I took swarm queen, heavily smoked the queenless nuc and gave her a puff or two and walked her in on the top bars. My logic - if she is not accepted, no harm done. If she is accepted I get to monitor what temperament she brings to a colony. Also, she can help that nuc tick over until I have queens with better traits
5. Even crazier - I then put the BS buckfast nuc into a brood box and set up a paper unite with the now queenless swarmy hive. I realised afterward that I planned on oxalic trickling this colony (already fed them 4 litres of thymol syrup) in hope of giving them some sort of anti-disease boost. I haven't noticed any visible signs of diseases (deformed wings, diarrhoea) but of course I should really have waited longer to see the state of play. Still, I'm happy to take this punt and maybe oxalic trickle the colony later down the line when they have united.
6. GM buckfast colony was lovely as per usual
7. Took a super from the big colony (with the queen that flew away) and gave them some wet frames to clean up - checkerboarded with foundation frames. I gave the GM buckfast another super as they weren't far off capping their honey. This has the other wet frames, again checkerboarded.
8. Extraction was a chew on because the gearbox in the extractor I bought is goosed. It keeps skipping. This, and the mess that extraction causes, finally convinced my lovely assistant that we should splash out on a larger electric extractor.
9. We now have more lovely honey.

Well. Some strange decisions there, but I can say I have learned some things...
 #7387  by Japey Edge
 25 May 2020, 19:36
stechad wrote:
23 May 2020, 14:10

No2 re-queened on wednesday with a Buckfast from wild yorks honey, all capped brood now emerged but queen not yet laying, given syrup in frame feeder to help build new foundation.
Would be interested in knowing how you get on with this queen. I want to try different recommended queens - so far I have a GM and a BS. Might have to give Exmoor a try next as I am in need of a queen or two.
 #7392  by stechad
 25 May 2020, 22:11
Japey Edge wrote:
25 May 2020, 19:36
stechad wrote:
23 May 2020, 14:10

No2 re-queened on wednesday with a Buckfast from wild yorks honey, all capped brood now emerged but queen not yet laying, given syrup in frame feeder to help build new foundation.
Would be interested in knowing how you get on with this queen. I want to try different recommended queens - so far I have a GM and a BS. Might have to give Exmoor a try next as I am in need of a queen or two.
No problem Jazz, Progress will be reported on here, leaving the WYH buckfast til friday to check on progress hopefully she will be laying then. I have a GM buckfast coming on Wednesday too.
Steve
 #7393  by RJC
 26 May 2020, 08:24
Spent the weekend extracting honey; about the same amount as usual (c 50lb per hive), but this year no OSR. So, I conclude that in previous years bees go to OSR in preference, and hawthorn, blossom and tree nectar goes begging? Also, why in old books do they only talk about a late summer harvest; surely pre OSR there was the same spring flow?
 #7394  by AdamD
 26 May 2020, 08:58
"1. Queenless nuc is making QCs. There were three. I reduced them to the biggest and nicest and left them to it".

I am still amazed/annoyed how often colonies make queencells well after the books say they should. So my suggestion is to not assume that there will be no further queencells and check again! (Like I didn't last week!).

Leave two queecells? Some books say to do this for full-sized colonies which is playing chicken - will they swarm or won't they? Smaller colonies are less likely to swarm and sometimes a nuc virgin queen will destroy any younger queens. But it is not guaranteed - even from a fairly small nuc who you think should know better! And then you lose 1/2 of your nuc.
 #7395  by AdamD
 26 May 2020, 09:03
RJC wrote:
26 May 2020, 08:24
Spent the weekend extracting honey; about the same amount as usual (c 50lb per hive), but this year no OSR. So, I conclude that in previous years bees go to OSR in preference, and hawthorn, blossom and tree nectar goes begging? Also, why in old books do they only talk about a late summer harvest; surely pre OSR there was the same spring flow?
I don't often get enough spring honey for it to be sealed and extracted - especially as I don't want the colony congested in spring so I ensure they have enough space. However the forage available will greatly help the quality of the honey when it does come off later on.
Here, OSR is pretty well finished for the year and I now have supers on the hives that have honey that's not going hard in the cells which is better than a couple of weeks ago! I usually have to wait for the blackberry before I can get most honey off - after the June gap which I usually see. Cripes! June is not far off!
 #7398  by Japey Edge
 26 May 2020, 09:35
AdamD wrote:
26 May 2020, 08:58
"1. Queenless nuc is making QCs. There were three. I reduced them to the biggest and nicest and left them to it".

I am still amazed/annoyed how often colonies make queencells well after the books say they should. So my suggestion is to not assume that there will be no further queencells and check again! (Like I didn't last week!).
After reading the quote you took, I realised I may have missed some key info out. They made the QCs from a test frame of eggs :lol: - although with the colonies I have I would not be surprised if a queenless hive decided to make a queen somehow!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
 #7400  by Patrick
 26 May 2020, 11:30
RJC wrote: Also, why in old books do they only talk about a late summer harvest; surely pre OSR there was the same spring flow?
Good question. Firstly, I suspect (depending on how far back you want to go) the flows were often more evened out with far more wild plants contributing between crops. Also Britain’s climate was different and many seasons the weather would have made foraging problematic. I remember one summer when it rained every day for months on end.

Secondly, pre varroa a lot more beekeepers were quite hands off. They would have simply taken off any surplus on the bees before autumn and probably lost swarms as well, which would take much of the spring harvest with them. Our attitude to feeding has also changed - we freely feed whenever we think bees need it, whereas I am not sure many cottage beekeepers would have had the cash to do so - they would have been more pragmatic about the bees living off their own supplies most of the time.

I also wonder reading between some of the lines about how healthy a lot of bees were and so there ability to gather much of a surplus. Some accounts suggest crops were often surprisingly modest, particularly for the skeppists.

I wonder if all this explains why commercial operators such as Manley were often as openly dismissive of amateurs aspirations and methods. The need to make a living required a significantly different approach to that usually being followed by the hobbyists of the day. Some of that is still true today.
  • 1
  • 106
  • 107
  • 108
  • 109
  • 110
  • 120