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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14383  by NigelP
 06 May 2024, 15:51
What a difference 9 days makes.....from virtually no stores and queens having a laying break...we are back to full frames of brood and larvae. I had to add an extra super to each hive as most are 3/4 full, some frames where fully capped as well. Even performed my first snelgrove of the season. Wow, what a turn a round.
 #14388  by NigelP
 13 May 2024, 15:31
I have had a couple of these "Mary Celeste" hives myself, where bees where there one day and all gone tomorrow. And these were mated queens. Not a good explanation as to why this happens, but it does. Some beekeepers are blaming mobile phone masts , but as nearest mast to my apiary is about 10 miles.....I doubt it :)
One though is they might have joined the virgin on her mating flight and never returned.
 #14389  by MickBBKA
 14 May 2024, 23:13
I am in Croatia and have been looking at the local hives. Its no wonder honey from these regions is so cheap. There are bee hives everywhere ! The whole country is covered in amazing woodland forage, so different to the desolate landscape in England and the weather is fantastic too. They are already bailing hay.
 #14390  by NigelP
 15 May 2024, 13:19
Interesting experience this week on who controls a hives temper, the queen or the worker genetics. In my experience the genetics tends to be more dominant and it can take 6-8 weeks for a requeened hive of nasties to become nice and calm.

I snelgroved a very calm hive, queen is an F1 open mated Buckfast queen. Next inspection the top half with queen was lovely and calm, the bottom half, queenless I know, but with frame of eggs and mature brood where like rottweilers. You couldn't believe the difference between the two halves of the same hive. Even worse they started staking out the whole garden, nowhere was safe from them. Needless to say the bottom half has been moved out.
 #14392  by AdamD
 16 May 2024, 09:36
NigelP wrote:
15 May 2024, 13:19
Interesting experience this week on who controls a hives temper, the queen or the worker genetics. In my experience the genetics tends to be more dominant and it can take 6-8 weeks for a requeened hive of nasties to become nice and calm.

I snelgroved a very calm hive, queen is an F1 open mated Buckfast queen. Next inspection the top half with queen was lovely and calm, the bottom half, queenless I know, but with frame of eggs and mature brood where like rottweilers. You couldn't believe the difference between the two halves of the same hive. Even worse they started staking out the whole garden, nowhere was safe from them. Needless to say the bottom half has been moved out.

It's my view too that genetics are the more imnportant part of behaviour and it takes a couple of months for behaviour to improve with a new queen.
I guess it's not the end of the OSR season yet where you are? As sometimes all those older bees can get a bit ratty when OSR finishes.

As a contrary note, I had one modest-sized colony a year or two ago where the behaviour improved AFTER the queen had been removed. The bees had made a couple of attempts at supercedure but the queencells had been taken down from the back (I assume the queen killed her daughter-rival each time). So the colony was clearly not happy with her which had perhaps permeated throughout the colony by pheromone.
 #14394  by NigelP
 16 May 2024, 09:51
Interesting Adam. another part of the insolvable temper issues. We have no OSR within flying distance of my back garden apiary, so not a factor in this. Although the apiary I moved them to does have rape a field away. Lets see if that improves their temper :)
 #14395  by MickBBKA
 19 May 2024, 01:22
Thurs 10th May I finished my first inspections of the year. All of my colonies showed no sign of swarming until I got to the last 2 and I was about 15mins late for one of them by the look of the swarm on the farm house entry gate :shock:
I managed to catch them in a BB with 4 drawn combs and 8 foundation and brought them home. On Fri 11th it looked pretty full so I put a Q,ex on and a drawn super then went on holiday. Arrived back home on Sat 18th and had a quick look in. They have drawn all the foundation frames as well as filled and capped 10 frames in the super, and are way out of space, so I put a 2nd on. Our local weather pi$$es me right off year after year. Its certainly not the bees I have, they are amazing if they can do this in 9 days from a swarm. But to go from 8 months of rain and single figure temps to 18c in one weekend does my head in. I imagine what they could achieve with 12 weeks forage rather than the usual 6 which will be 4 this year. :x

Our association is begging for bees this year as there have been massive losses up here and many beekeepers have been wiped out never mind the newbees looking for colonies. IMHO the BBKA and our association really do need to rethink their training programmes on feeding and nutrition rather than a one fits all Southern approach they use. Both of them and the NBU are all so slow to react to change.

PS : The honey in the hotel was crap. It was the most tasteless I have ever experienced. Monocrop or sugar crop I have no idea but our multifloral honey is miles ahead.....................Don't undersell your honey, its an amazing product !!
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