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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #6084  by AdamD
 26 Mar 2020, 12:43
I manged to inspect most of my colonies yesterday. Cool wind from the sea however.
A couple of colonies that had no brood last time (2 - 3 weeks ago) have queens laying now.
One mini-nuc may have no queen or a duff one (an old parked queen so I am not bothered if she is no more); I'll look in more detail later.
Other mini-nucs are alive and growing.
One colony has drone brood and some neglected drone brood amongst the worker, so that queen is going to fail soon I expect.
The rest are fine. One, I labelled as "sh*ts" so that queen will feel a 'little nip' soon. A newspaper unite is on the cards.
 #6088  by NigelP
 26 Mar 2020, 16:03
Checked out what I thought was a queenless colony to find a very small queen, probably a virgin. Marked her and will give her a chance to start laying. I have had some quite fecund very small queens in the past...but she is well overdue....At least I don't have to worry about the rest becoming laying workers meantime.
Also found the unmarked queen in drone laying colony. May she RIP. Shook rest of bees off frames and within 30 minutes all but a handful had rehoused themselves.
 #6089  by Patrick
 27 Mar 2020, 13:39
You must be enjoying a warm spell up there because it is still blooming freezing down here Nigel! We have sunshine but really cold and brisk east winds.

I am not opening up colonies anytime soon. Just as well because I still need to clean up last years kit which hasn’t been touched yet 🙄

So much for plans on making extra kit..
 #6090  by Chrisbarlow
 27 Mar 2020, 13:47
Thinking of painting some boxes. That's it really.

As for weather, it's gorgeous outside , according to the BBC 10°c.

Roll on even warmer weather
 #6092  by AndrewLD
 27 Mar 2020, 14:29
Went to throw out a fermenter's worth of mead that has been doing nothing for months in the utility room, thought "actually that's not bad", so decanted into 4 demijohn's and it's now sitting - in a safe place :) Time to get the next batch of capping's honey going.....
 #6093  by MickBBKA
 27 Mar 2020, 15:14
AdamD wrote:
26 Mar 2020, 12:43
I manged to inspect most of my colonies yesterday. Cool wind from the sea however.
A couple of colonies that had no brood last time (2 - 3 weeks ago) have queens laying now.
One mini-nuc may have no queen or a duff one (an old parked queen so I am not bothered if she is no more); I'll look in more detail later.
Other mini-nucs are alive and growing.
One colony has drone brood and some neglected drone brood amongst the worker, so that queen is going to fail soon I expect.
The rest are fine. One, I labelled as "sh*ts" so that queen will feel a 'little nip' soon. A newspaper unite is on the cards.
I have to say my inspections yesterday prove almost identical to yours Adam.
Several of my colonies were huge in December but have shrunk away through Jan & Feb.
No colony had more than 4 frames with brood even the ones with 10 seams of bees + what is in the under supers. Only 2 had frames showing eggs in the centre with capped brood around indicating approx 3 weeks since brooding started so they must have had a good break in February, which you can't blame them as it was atrocious conditions. I couldn't inspect home apiary as it was freezing with evil Easterly off the sea. I reckon they are at least 3 weeks behind. Sun out but freezing again today, hard frost last night and 6C today.
 #6094  by Patrick
 27 Mar 2020, 16:10
AndrewLD wrote:Went to throw out a fermenter's worth of mead that has been doing nothing for months in the utility room, thought "actually that's not bad", so decanted into 4 demijohn's and it's now sitting - in a safe place :) Time to get the next batch of capping's honey going.....
Snap, due to beer drought sampled an anonymous bottle of something homemade and discovered a bottle of mead from a few years ago.

Not a huge mead fan but it was surprisingly good. Now, have I any more bottles of it amongst my collection of unlabelled brownish bottles?? Only one way to find out..
 #6095  by NigelP
 27 Mar 2020, 16:48
Patrick wrote:
27 Mar 2020, 13:39
You must be enjoying a warm spell up there because it is still blooming freezing down here Nigel! We have sunshine but really cold and brisk east winds.

It has been 3 gorgeous days in a row. Managed to get through all colonies.
Amazing no dead outs, just a drone laying queen and a possible virgin queen in 1 hive. From the horror stories I'm hearing elsewhere I've come off lightly. Most hives needing space for laying room.

Am currently in the process of discerning exactly how much wax one can extract from old brood frames. I used DIpel as an alternative to Certan B401 (which is currently unavailable) to spray my brood frames before storage. I was assured it did the same job....it doesn't, big mistake, wax moth everywhere.....ho hum.
Did you know a brand new wired brood frame weights 2 ounces? An empty drawn wax moth eaten brood frame weighs approx 8 ounces.
All currently in apimleter overnight straining through tesco shopping bags....we shall see what comes out sometime tomorrow.
 #6096  by NigelP
 28 Mar 2020, 12:11
The answer is a shade under what you started with.
10 drawn brood frames produced just under 19 oz of wax.
So rather than throw away I think I shall extract them in future even knowing the returns are not great.
 #6097  by Patrick
 29 Mar 2020, 10:30
I make up a steam extraction stack using my trusty Wickes wallpaper stripper and it produces a decent quality of wax which runs off, the fact the frames get a good boiling and maybe most important the fact the bees hard work doesn’t go to waste. I hadn’t ever weighed it, so good call.

If the combs are old, there is still residual wax which remains in the cocoons etc of the comb so you get less wax out but there again, once dried out plenty enough wax remains to make the firelighters GillB mentioned, but without the flooding of excess melted wax pointed out by AndrewLD. It’s entirely personal choice but it appeals to my recycling habit.

It’s surprising just how much wax in cappings, scrapings and meltings get accumulated over a season. I melt it all down to make very satisfying “cheeses” of lovely clean wax of around 20lb in weight. Wrapped in cling film they are easy to store.

Because it’s more than the amount of same weight new foundation used each season, after a wax conversion exchange there is a significant annual operating saving in new foundation to boot. Kerrching :) !
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