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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14155  by AdamD
 20 Nov 2023, 14:43
Oh to have an isolated mating station to get some consistency!
So far all colonies are heavy from the ivy that came in this autumn.

(I found a wasp in a shoe when I was a kid. It must have hurt as I still remember it).
 #14156  by MickBBKA
 22 Nov 2023, 00:23
Had a good look at 2 apiaries over the last 2 days and all are doing great so far. Only concern are two 6 frame nucs that have expanded so much they are rammed full of bees but feeling very light. I put 2 frames of stores in each and will overload with fondant next week. After autumn varroa treatment inspection boards are showing very little drop on all colonies. I think this is due to several brood breaks over the crap summer rather than my bees suddenly developing hygienic traits. Bees still bringing in what looks like Ivy the other day. Slugs everywhere, especially in those mega wet Abelo super soaker hives that I have already had to remove rotten mould covered frames from and its only November.
 #14158  by MickBBKA
 22 Nov 2023, 01:18
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUrucX37ics

Just thought I would add this from the Spring. I am a big believer in local conditions and how colonies cope in different areas, something the BBKA and NBU are completely unaware of and most UK beekeepers when detailing seasons and regions in the UK. My colonies even 1 mile apart can have massive differences depending on wind directions. The BBKA and NBU only deal in Southern generic beekeeping conditions. In my location Poly hives just don't work and I have tried them in every scenario. Emperors new clothes.......IMHO ;)
 #14159  by JoJo36
 22 Nov 2023, 06:38
So, you're not a fan of poly hives Mick??!! :D I thought you had got rid of all yours??!!
I've thought of getting them before but changed my mind due to the cleaning being easier on wooden ones with a blast of the blow torch!!
My 3 are on double broods but I'm only expecting 2 to survive winter as one weaker!! However, I could lose all 3 but it won't be down to underfeeding them!! :lol:
 #14162  by AdamD
 22 Nov 2023, 20:44
MIck, I presume your poly's have a sealed roof and ventillated floor?

There's green mesh along the bottom of the hive stands - do you get many bees trying to get under the hives or is it for another reason?
 #14163  by MickBBKA
 23 Nov 2023, 01:55
The video was from the spring so as I said I was in the process of getting rid of the poly as they are hopeless in my area. As you can see its just a brood box. I use sealed crown boards and modified solid floors all year around. The only time I have ever had a colony evacuate a hive and cover it in fanning bees was July 2022 and it was a poly hive. As far as the hive in the video is concerned If it was a full poly set up there wouldn't be any bees flying, in this case the wood upper box has warmed some of the colony. Its not that I don't like them, they have several very positive reasons for other keepers but just not where I am located. They restrict brood rearing and flying time in the spring and are always full of water in the winter in my location, the wood hives do not suffer this. The green nets are there because sudden dramatic drops in temperature and East winds of death during the spring cause thousands of bees laden with pollen to end up unable to fly and stranded in huge piles to die on the ground in front of the hives. They cluster for warmth. People often think this is poisoning, its actually cold shock. They can't fly as they are too cold, but they can crawl and have a sense of direction. The nets allow them to crawl back into the hive and along with opening entrances wide it has pretty much cured this issue.
 #14165  by NigelP
 23 Nov 2023, 11:01
All I run is Abelo poly hives with open mesh floors, never had a damp issue since I started using them over 10 years ago.

Mick, If you are getting damp in your top box using an overhanging roof, then the only source can be condensation from the bees inside the hive. Maybe Teesside bees perspire more in your tropical micro climate than my tundra hardened Buckfast :D
If you are using the reduced profile roof that sits on top of the new style crown board with no overhang.....then throw the roof in the bin and get an overhanging roof (the old fashioned ones). The crown boards though are excellent as they have a recess for a dedicated Ashforth mini feeder, plus they have a sealable vent that means you don't need a travel screen when moving bees....or you can remove the vent entirely and pin a rhombus clearer board underneath. And for the rest of the year it can act as your crown board..
A simple 4 in 1 design that works really well and saves oodles of spare kit hanging about.

And JoJo it's easier to clean and sterilise poly hives than wooden ones, you simply spray with a solution of bleach, leave for a few minutes (while you spray another box or boxes) and hose off. Easy peasy....
 #14166  by AdamD
 23 Nov 2023, 12:19
MickBBKA wrote:
23 Nov 2023, 01:55
The green nets are there because sudden dramatic drops in temperature and East winds of death during the spring cause thousands of bees laden with pollen to end up unable to fly and stranded in huge piles to die on the ground in front of the hives. They cluster for warmth. People often think this is poisoning, its actually cold shock. They can't fly as they are too cold, but they can crawl and have a sense of direction. The nets allow them to crawl back into the hive and along with opening entrances wide it has pretty much cured this issue.
Ahh, I remember that now.
Brother Adam used to have ramps up to his hive - maybe for the same thing. I think someone called them 'mouse ramps' :)
 #14171  by MickBBKA
 27 Nov 2023, 03:14
Nigel, its not damp, its water and I get it in brood boxes, supers and on the floors. I have to pour it out at times even in the so called Summer. Often full of huge slugs. The recess next to the runners are always full of water in the winter and clogged with dead, drowned bees. The 2 outer frames at both ends always end up full of mouldy rotten frames and comb. I have the very deep roofs. Fact is, not one single wooden hive has this issue and I have 30 wood hives and 6 poly. So I hope to be shot of them after I am able to finish swapping them out this winter/spring. If they worked I would keep them, but they don't here which is a shame as they are so light to work with. Its a design flaw in that the bees won't seal the joints, but they are too cold in the Spring anyway The other issue is that when we did get some warm weather last year they were the only colonies that couldn't cope with the ambient warmth and ended up with half the colony outside the hive fanning. Never seen that ever in my wood hives and they are on solid floors all year. I experiment in all sorts of areas beekeeping rather than relying on groupthink and they just don't work here. Emperors new clothes IMHO.
 #14172  by JoJo36
 27 Nov 2023, 06:05
Fair enough re cleaning Nigel, however when I had wax moth last year the larvae started eating the polystyrene and left holes in and around the poly nut I had!! I bleached them out but some of the holes were quite long almost like tunnels!!
I like the look of the poly ones and better for lifting heavy brood boxes but not sure.......... At least they can be mixed and matched I believe??!!........
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