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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14451  by NigelP
 15 Jun 2024, 15:21
Worryingly low yields so far and yet to see any new queens mated. I staggered the raising of queens so some may have a chance, some not. I was pleased to see that virgins will go on mating flights in temps of 14c and above, so all is not yet lost.
 #14452  by NigelP
 18 Jun 2024, 12:44
Very pleasantly surprised to find 6 newly mated and laying queens in 2 different apiaries, another 6 to go for a full house. I can count the days we've had temps over 16C with 1 finger. It's been ruddy cold and horrible uuup North. Even today which feels warm and pleasant, it's still only 16C
How well they have been mated is another question.
 #14457  by MickBBKA
 19 Jun 2024, 03:40
Thanks Adam, it would be a great help making the forum more accessible to everyone.
So first Q emerged looks good. Second Q emerged is a drone layer who never got mated. I have 33 colonies which survived Spring. " 29 have never produced any queen cells. Last year I had about 18 colonies producing over 2,500 lb of honey, this year I have 33 what should have been production colonies and I have taken just 110 lb of them all. I feel very fortunate to just have had a disaster of a season and not a complete disaster where I have lost all my bees like lots of people in my area. I have had to continue feeding bees since February just to keep them alive. We have had about 20 days without rain and winds since the start of the year.
 #14467  by AdamD
 24 Jun 2024, 10:43
I extracted 120 kg of OSR honey from 8 production hives which wasn't too bad considering it was too cool/wet for some of the time it was flowering. For other spring honeys, there wasn't much in evidence although I'll see more when the honey is assessed later.
The bees have done diddly squat since then until the past few days and nectar is coming in now. :D

Meanwhile a couple of early 2024 queens (supercedures themselves from overwintered queens that failed in spring) are now being superceded. They had hung around to mate for a month or so - maybe they hung around for a bit too long.

One good large nuc with a new queen was swapped with another colony of unknown parentage, so I could use the new queen and unite with the colony 3 feet away that's got an old one. Annoyingly the new good queen was killed by the incoming flyers and all that was left was one emergency queencell a week after moving them. Not sure what went on there! :?

A caught swarm has decided to draw comb in the feeder area of a Paynes polynuc and avoid the 2 partially drawn frames that I put in there for them to work on. That's bees for you! I saw the queen as a skittish virgin and expect that she is laying, so I'll have to try to cut out the comb in the feeder and hope I can get her out unscathed. I have never used the little bit of queen excluder that supplied with the Paynes boxes which is to stop the queen going where she shouldn't. Maybe I need to, now.
 #14470  by NigelP
 24 Jun 2024, 12:55
Thank goodness for ventilated bees suits in this weather.
Another 2/3 newly mated queens off and laying. Another 5 to check on this PM....I'll settle for 4.

On an aside, I'd put up a couple of Asian hornet traps which I took down and checked today. Thankfully no Asian Hornets, but approx. 50 -60 queen wasps. Might be a partial solution for your wasp problems Mick.
 #14476  by NigelP
 26 Jun 2024, 08:30
Weird one yesterday morning. Drove down track which is just inside a forest to where I have an apiary site in an adjacent field. Parked truck and was met by a small cloud of bees. To all intents and purposes like a mini swarm, they settled at the bottom of an oak tree, there couldn't have been more than 100 bees. Only thing I can think of it's a small cast swarm from a feral colony. Will see if they are still around next visit.
 #14502  by AdamD
 14 Jul 2024, 20:08
I looked at a couple of neglected colonies yesterday; one was over-full with honey which is a good thing to find. The other had lost its clipped queen and had a couple of open queencells. It looks like it hadn't lost any bees to a swarm as it was very full. I inspected all the other queen cells and let three virgins out and shook the bees off all 22 frames to ensure there were no more. Sometimes bees place queencells in unlikely places. I am not sure where the expression 'pulling virgins' came from but hopefully the best queen will win out!
 #14504  by AdamD
 22 Jul 2024, 09:30
If there are no queens in queencells, then the virgins in the hive will fight it out. (Referenced in Hoopers Guide to Bees and Honey).
I looked at the outside of the colony on Saturday and there was a dead virgin in front of the hive... With luck I'll have a laying queen soon, and no loss of bees.
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