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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14319  by AdamD
 22 Mar 2024, 14:48
I checked my remaining stocks and there is a queen that is close to failing - with a dodgy middle leg. My expectation is that she will be superceded soon - there is already some drone brood which I would consider unusual at this time of year - often an indacation of a queens ill-health.
For the drone-layer, I removed her and united the remains of the colony with a mini-plus nuc inside an empty brood box - using newspaper over the feed-hole. Next week I will ensure that the queen is down in the brood box and then put a queen excluder between the two to keep her down, so the existing brood in the mini-plus box can emerge and strengthen the colony.
 #14320  by JoJo36
 24 Mar 2024, 05:05
Good idea Adam but I'm personally finding it hard to visualise the mini nuclear plus box inside a brood box??!!
Are you sure the queen will go down to the other brood box or if not place her there??!!
Seems very quiet on this forum recently................
 #14321  by AdamD
 24 Mar 2024, 10:02
Take out the porter bee escape and put the mini-plus without floor, over the hole with newspaper in between*. After a week, there's a good chance that the queen will be down below in any case, if not she can be placed there and then a piece of queen excluder positioned on top of the crown board to keep her down. Alternatively I have simply placed a queen excluder on the brood box and then put the mini-plus on top of that.
Without the feeder, the mini-plus is not as high as a brood box, so a brood box can surround it - just as you might surround a feeder - with the roof going on top. I'll see if I can get a picture.

*You could use a squirt of air-freshner instead.
 #14322  by JoJo36
 25 Mar 2024, 07:17
Thank you Adam, I can picture it now and conveniently the mini nut will sit inside a brood box, so either using the newspaper method or placing over a QX on top of existing brood box the bees will mix and most probably the queen will go down into the existing brood box?! If not they are all getting on well and she can be placed downstairs!
Great stuff! :)
 #14324  by Alfred
 30 Mar 2024, 19:12
Discovered that both the two '23 Jolanta queens have rammed their boxes full.
Brace comb everywhere, one full of stores the other with drone brood
Caught me out and had grandson with me so wasn't prepared.Tuesday is the next break from the weather so I have to return then to add extra boxes.
 #14330  by MickBBKA
 04 Apr 2024, 02:23
I have been and fed the bees again for the god knows how many times.
I know I complain all the time about the weather but this is driving me insane. Wettest February since records began. Wettest Winter for 130 years. Wettest continuous 18 months since records began. I have had to lift some colonies up out of the mud as they were sinking and going to tip over. I was looking forward to one farm with a 1,000 acres of OSR but its all rotted off into the mud. Another of my farmers has just done a survey of his crops and estimates he will lose about £200,000 worth of produce because of the rain, his dad has worked the land for 60 years and has never seen a Spring like it. I am amazed at the amount of dead birds in the woods and hedgerows, probably hypothermic. Lambs are just being born and they are covered in mud and soaked to the skin, 55 years being around farms and I have never seen such wretched looking creatures.
Everything for Spring has flowered and now the Dandelions are 50% done and the Hawthorne has come into flower in the pouring rain.
There isn't much to come after that.
Every year Spring seems to get worse. This is an evil place to keep bees.
Yes I am fed up. I would love, just one time, to have a warm gentle Spring to see what my bees can do as they are always on the edge of disaster until mid May every year. :cry:
 #14333  by NigelP
 04 Apr 2024, 11:12
Blimey Mick, 30 miles apart and seems like different worlds (apart from the wet). Daffs still in full flower here, cherry, plum and blackthorn all burst into flower this Sat/Sunday and trees were humming with bees on Sunday. Not a dandelion in flower to be seen.
I've not had chance to seriously check over any of my colonies due to work and bad weather but looks like tomorrow will be doable as supposedly 15-16C . Although I know I've lost 2, one of which wouldn't touch it's fondant until too late (I went back to add more but original lot untouched, went back 2 weeks later all gone and bees dead....very big colony, which might explain their rapid starvation) and another that hefted heavy but the weight was pollen stores!
This pattern of wet weather has been consistent for the past 2 years now, so I'm thinking about leaving feeders on all winter next year, making it easier to top up hives in spring.
 #14337  by NigelP
 08 Apr 2024, 19:46
First real inspection of the year.....all is fine. Stores low on a few hives (fed again) but brood rearing in earnest. One 6 frame nuc had 6 frames of brood ....wonder where they are going (upgraded to full hive). Some big queens from late mating's, marked and clipped... now having to rethread crown of thorns due to mishaps :) . Wow ....Thornes charging £33 for new CofT and marking pen....ridiculous, will stay with rethreading :)
Drone brood and drones in a few hives, wonder whet they know that I don't:?
 #14338  by JoJo36
 09 Apr 2024, 08:31
Did my inspections a few weeks ago:
One of the hives on double brood had mouldy frames in the bottom box which I've ditched and the top box fairly weak.
Transferred some frames and bees to boost this hive.
Another double had old dirty frames in bottom box so ditched them also and added another frame of bees/eggs from stronger hive to boost.
3rd hive very busy in double brood with plenty of bees/brood to share with other boxes.
Food enough just okay for the moment, I'll keep checking!
All bees tetchy but weather since has been terrible (even down south Mick) !!!! :shock: and even today really chilly high winds and don't mention rain!!!
Hoping weather improves soon else I doubt we will have much honey later in the year........
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