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  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #5707  by Patrick
 10 Feb 2020, 13:46
Quick walk at lunchtime. Unsurprisingly more trees down and some nasty hang ups. Saw first blackthorn tree in full bloom, bit optimistic maybe but still raises the spirits.

Even though winds gusting to 40 / 50mph today according to BBC, still one hive had bees coming in an out. Tough ladies indeed. Respect :)
 #5711  by NigelP
 11 Feb 2020, 13:23
Must be warmer where you are Patrick, wind chill is giving -2C where we are and not a bee in sight.
Took advantage of the non flying to move hives to one side, stick some black weed suppression membrane under the hive stands and place some of the "greener" caravan awning flooring behind which the grass will grow through and knit together. Aim is fill over the black with wood chippings. And now I will be able to strim and tidy without "annoying" the bees in summer.
This out apiary is really suffering from the wet we have had so should also prevent me turning it into a paddy field come early spring. And boy was it windy and cold......brrrrrr

Image
 #5760  by Patrick
 23 Feb 2020, 10:16
Still a hooley blowing. Went to check hives, no flying and most really lightening up which is entirely fine as long as we get a reasonable March and some early foraging.

Thoughts now on whether will need to feed as an insurance in case March is poor. Run out of bakers fondant, normal suppliers have none so thinking may make some or even try Chris’s sugar block thing. Bit tricky this time of year as only trying to tide them over not bulk feed and needs proportional effort as we are not talking just the one hive.

Alternatively, there are also a couple which are if anything too heavy - I fear they may be on the way out or have succumbed already but let’s see in a few weeks . I have been wrong before and there ain’t much useful I can do just now.

Sometimes the colonies slow out of the blocks in the Spring still go on to great things later on. Cross fingers.
 #5761  by Chrisbarlow
 23 Feb 2020, 10:30
The sugar blocks worked a treat but no doubt a faf as I effectively baked them to harden them off.

If you want fondant try Shepcotes in Driffield, I "believe" they delivery country wide . You'd need to check.
 #5793  by Japey Edge
 25 Feb 2020, 21:13
Had another check on the hives - they're all doing well. The nuc wasn't clustered - means my empty feeder on top with a polystyrene insert is working, or they're just not wimps :lol:

The National with new Buckfast queen seems to be getting smaller though.. Only counted them on for seams today. Also should I be concerned about a visitor I noticed? Pic below:
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My other national hive with local bees is doing fine by the looks of it, although they picked a corner rather than the middle. I'm not too fussed. Slightly narked that I didn't manage to get hold of a clear crown board in time for winter. They're making do with a rubble sack taped to an Abelo crown board I cut the centre out of (don't ask).

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Both hives have plenty of wool insulation in an eke, then a poly roof strapped down on top.
 #5882  by AdamD
 05 Mar 2020, 19:54
Yesterday was a fair day - with a temperature of 9.5 degrees so bees were flying a little. Then a drone pops out on the landing board of one hive. That's a concern as it's not usual for them to be around at this time of the year and can be a sign of queen problems within the stock. However it's too cold to look inside and what could I do anyway? So they will have to wait until the weather warms up a little.
 #5886  by Chrisbarlow
 07 Mar 2020, 17:06
Putting pollen patties on colonies yesterday. They were all very active
 #5889  by MickBBKA
 07 Mar 2020, 23:03
AdamD wrote:
05 Mar 2020, 19:54
Yesterday was a fair day - with a temperature of 9.5 degrees so bees were flying a little. Then a drone pops out on the landing board of one hive. That's a concern as it's not usual for them to be around at this time of the year and can be a sign of queen problems within the stock. However it's too cold to look inside and what could I do anyway? So they will have to wait until the weather warms up a little.
I had 2 colonies with drones over winter last year and no issues with the queens following into the spring / summer. I think its more a reflection of the warm winters and no brood breaks, they are still raising the occasional drones.
 #5894  by AdamD
 08 Mar 2020, 10:27
Yesterday the weather was just about good enough for a quick inspection of my 5 home apiary colonies; two on double brood and three with supers.

My usual technique is to 'under super' colonies if I consider one brood box is not enough food for the size of the colony. However, as an experiment, I kept the supers on the brood boxes over queen excluders. Something I just don't usually do.

All colonies were small for the time of year (queens laying and 4 seen) and had little or no pollen and no liquid stores. A couple had pollen on outside frames so I moved them in so they would be in reach of the cluster.
The double brood colonies were OK - with an arc of space above the brood which was in the lower boxes - ready for the queen to lay in as soon as the weather improves.

The super-over-brood boxes had no stores in the brood boxes and plenty in the supers. And as the super honey will, most likely, be made up of ivy (set) and sugar syrup, I can't extract it. So as we are still early in the season and the brood-nests are small, I have put them under the brood boxes without queen excluders. With luck some of the food will be removed over the next few weeks. However the super over excluder over brood method could potentially leave me with three wasted supers until autumn.

What I see with super-under-brood (no excluder) is that the supers would have been empty or as near as dammit and there's a sensible amount of stores in the brood boxes for the bees to use up over the next few weeks as they expand their nest and before supers go on.

My take on it, is that if we'd had a cold spell this winter or were likely to have a cold spell in the next couple of weeks, the colony would have found it difficult to maintain the brood in the lower box and then get to the stores in the super above as there was a large sphere of emptiness around the brood where there was comb and no food at all - so the stocks would have been much more likely to experience isolation starvation than the way I usually manage my bees with a super underneath or double brood.
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