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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #5896  by Patrick
 08 Mar 2020, 11:13
Wasn’t the Sphere of Emptiness also in Lord of the Rings? 😁

Envious of your day being warm enough Adam, we continue our run of grey overcast cold and wind since about last August Bank Holiday.

Many of my colonies are still suspiciously heavy - I am also thinking brood rearing has been compromised by lack of flying weather to gather pollen.
 #5898  by AdamD
 09 Mar 2020, 10:02
Not sure about Lord of the Rings - I got bored and gave up ...
Whilst the sun was shining on Sunday afternoon, I had a quick peek at a few colonies at my out apiary. It was a bit blowy though. Again, small colonies and generally they have plenty of sealed stores - more than I would have expected. Pretty well no pollen and some had no brood. A couple of weeks ago I have put some home made pollen substitute on 3 or 4 colonies. It looks like the bees were completely un-interested in it.
 #5899  by AndrewLD
 09 Mar 2020, 10:19
This could be one of those myths that Nigel talks about but I thought the objection to leaving on a super with a QE was that the bees either would not leave the queen/any brood and starve even though stores are available OR they would abandon the queen/any brood, which would perish?
We certainly tell our beginners not to leave the QE in place.
My cherry blossom is covered in bees and there is plenty of pollen going in.
I am taking off the storm ropes (easier to heft etc) but in two minds about whether it is still a little early to take off the insulating mats. The argument is that it better for colony build-up to take them off but I am really not sure why?
 #5901  by AdamD
 09 Mar 2020, 19:30
I would not normally leave a Q/ex in place over winter - the colonies that were like that were configured well in my view. The next day after I placed the supers under the brood box, there was lots of cappings under the hives, so I would assume that the bees have decided to move the honey from the supers up to the brood area.

Insulation will remain on my hives to reduce heat-loss from the nest. Many of my hive roofs now have insulation built in so it stays there all year.
 #5902  by NigelP
 10 Mar 2020, 08:50
AdamD wrote:
09 Mar 2020, 19:30

Insulation will remain on my hives to reduce heat-loss from the nest. Many of my hive roofs now have insulation built in so it stays there all year.
For an insect that needs to thermoregulate its environment within a hive by generation of heat It makes intuitive sense to minimise any heat losses from that environment, particularly during the winter months.
It rarely gets that hot in this country that an insulated hive can be "too" insulated such that bees are found clustering outside as too hot inside. This is assuming you have managed their space well and they are not overcrowded.
It's one of the many reasons why I rate the Abelo hives so highly . They come with perforated airing blocks you can put into supers/brood boxes, or simply remove the solid inserts themselves ...... on the rare occasions temps soar into the mid 30C...
 #5903  by Patrick
 10 Mar 2020, 09:12
I have certainly known beekeepers who have left a QX in place without issue and only heard of the risks mentioned as just that.

As to removal of insulation to help spring build up, I share your query. We are all told hollow trees are the bees ultimate home choice, and their thermal properties are presumably relatively constant year round.
 #5904  by MickBBKA
 10 Mar 2020, 14:11
Patrick wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 09:12
As to removal of insulation to help spring build up, I share your query. We are all told hollow trees are the bees ultimate home choice, and their thermal properties are presumably relatively constant year round.
I have 4 Abelo poly hives and quite like them. But I have not found them any better for my bees than my wooden hives. I put poly and wood side by side in pairs with sister queens at 4 different locations to see how they did. The poly hives did overwinter slightly better with a larger number of bees in the spring. But as it got warmer they were overtaken by the wood housed colonies and 3 were out performed in the end. One thing that is very noticeable is that the wood hives warm up faster in the sun and so are out flying quite a bit earlier than the poly bees. Tom Seeley does talk about this comparing wood hives to thick tree housed colonies but hasn't yet gone into depth with research on the subject yet I believe. I did originally think I would go over to poly hives but I can't see any benefit from it so have stuck to wood.
Another thing I found was when we did get some hot weather in July the only colonies that had a serious problem with overheating were the poly hives and several times were encased in fanning bees all over the outside. This I put down to the lack of vents in the roofs which I will modify this year.
As in all things bee related its what works for you in the end.

Cheers, Mick.
 #5906  by NigelP
 10 Mar 2020, 20:28
You need to compare what happens in a "cold" winter, something we haven't seen in the UK for some time.
Quite puzzling why bees in wood would overtake those in poly as the season warms up. I can't think of any rational reason. Last time I did any serious comparisons it was 7/8 frames of brood in late March in Poly vs 3-4 in wood.( Yes Jim I know your locals in tropical south England are on 6/7 by this time....but our Daffs haven't even come out yet :D )
Although I agree wood hives will start flying earlier if in sunlight....often when no nectar is available.....
It's horses for courses. In my climatic conditions the advantages of poly hives are quite obvious.
Murray McGregor one of the "BIG" commercial keepers reckons he gets 30% more honey from same bees strains in poly hives.
I would suggest if you see more honey at the end of the day with the same bees then the efficiency of poly hives has shown itself.
Of course the type of bee kept has a huge bearing on honey yields. I ran 2 or 3 Amm colonies vs my Buckfast bees in same apiary, same sized colonies yet Amms collected 2/.3 less honey. Local bees ...don't want to even go there.
 #5911  by AndrewLD
 11 Mar 2020, 08:07
NigelP wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 20:28
In my climatic conditions the advantages of poly hives are quite obvious.
Yesterday's wind saw me re-strapping my super stack so perhaps I was a bit premature there :o
I think you raise a number of very interesting points there and given that honey is not a priority for me I shall leave them snuggled up to awake to summer (probably just as it finishes!).
I read some expert in Belgium's statement that as the climate from Scandinavia down to Spain on the Western side is in the same climatic zone as the Asian Hornet's in Asia (I don't know - is it?) etc etc. Where did commonsense go when it comes to these people? So I should seriously consider selling outdoor pools to those living on Cape Wrath (North of Scotland for those struggling to remember that windswept piece of the UK) - or not :D
 #5915  by MickBBKA
 12 Mar 2020, 02:21
NigelP wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 20:28
You need to compare what happens in a "cold" winter, something we haven't seen in the UK for some time.
Quite puzzling why bees in wood would overtake those in poly as the season warms up. I can't think of any rational reason.
I started beekeeping in 2012. In my area we have had 2 cold winters in the last 20 years, those 2 have been since I started, excluding the beast from the East Spring of 2018. I have posted many times on various forums that I believe the lack of flying days in my area is my biggest issue. When the bees are able to fly in Spring / early Summer the temperature is often quite cold and with high winds. You do state that nectar will not be available, I agree. But I don't think nectar is a problem. They have lots of liquid stores from winter. I think the reason the wood colonies got the jump is that they warmed up enough to forage earlier and for longer than the poly hives. So they were able to bring in more pollen which is key to brood production in the early Spring, leading to bigger colonies going into so called Summer that we suffer and thus better production. So I now feed pollen subs to try and mitigate this issue. Sadly with working full time I am just not able to fully record the outcomes in detail at the moment.

Cheers, Mick.
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