Spring seem to have started and the bees are out and about today, the temperature is a balmy 12c and the sun is shining. Had a quick inspection last week and gave them all a slab of fondant. We have lost 2 small colonies over winter taking us down to 16 hives, I really should have combined them together as they both swarmed late in the season. Lesson learnt for this year.
I was sorting thought my bee equipment in readiness for the new season and I seen to have a nice collection of wax, old comb, capping etc. I dug out my old melting pot and the electric hob and have a melting session. looks and smell disgusting but the end produce after just one filtering looks great. I need to filter it a few time before I can use it.
Cut some wood this morning and made 8 ekes for when we do our next inspection. Just waiting for a milder day to have a quick look see if anyone needs an extra feeding. Glued and nailed together with the air gun.
This week I was reading about under floor entrances. I think this is a Dartington design, the main advantages been, reduces wind and rain getting in the hive, reduces robbing from bees and wasps. This inspired me to make some and see if they work. Its a very simple design and easy to make, much easier then a conventional floor. There is a short landing board with a vertical climb thought a 8-9mm gap, a mouse guard should not be needed with this small gap. I have made them from new wood, not overly expensive, the mesh flooring is still the most costly item. The landing board is made from recycled pallet wood.
If we have good results I will be making some to sell, so if any one is interested or have a comment, please drop me a line at email@example.com
We now have a hive at our new apiary site at Laneshaw bridge. I’ve taken one hive up for now to see how they go. If they do OK Ill take another one up in a couple of weeks. There is plenty of hedgerow flowers out at the moment and heather will be around later in the year. It is a little remote so I will be bringing them back to the Aire vally once the weather turns cold.
We’ve another busy weekend at The Bee Yard, ive split some of the larger colonies and re-queened them with 2 mated queens and 3 Virgin queens. I think we have about 20 colonies now.
Sunday lunchtime, we got a knock on the door to say there was a swarm of bee in one of my trees in our garden. I thought this might have come from the Top Bar Hive but when I inspected them yesterday the hive is still busting with bees.
This is our 3rd swarm of the season, a nice size colony. They were 8ft up in a tree, and with a quick shake of the branch they were in the box and they settled down very quickly. I didn’t find the queen, but ill have a look in a few day after they have settled in.
There was a lot of robbing going on yesterday in the smaller hives, so Ive closed the entrance holes down to 2cm, lets hope this will sort things out. Ill need to keep an eye on the small hive or maybe move them to another location.
Need to do a few more splits in the out apiaries, some of the hives are on double broods already and are busting. One colony has already swarmed. Ive been making up more brood boxes this weekend in readiness for this. Ive a busy week ahead so this might have to wait till nearer the weekend.
June has begun and things have started getting busy at The Bee Yard. We’ve had a few hot days and the bees are loving it, lets hope this keeps up. Saturday night saw our first swarm collection of the season, from a bee keeper just over the boarder in Lancashire. This was already boxes up and ready to go, the easiest swarm collection ever, cheers Bruce. Our 2nd swarm came on Monday lunchtime, a nice size swarm and just 6ft up in a bush. Shook most of them in to a poly nuc and left the box on the grass for an hour while I had a cup of tea. On my return all the bees were in the box, so I think I must have got the queen in the box on the first shake.
We have had European & American Foul Brood in the area over the last few weeks, EFB was about 3 miles away, but more worrying was the AFB a 1 mile from one of our apiaries. I had a visit from the bee inspector on Monday, he was here for 2 hours. Good news, we got the all clear at 2 of our apiaries sites. The other apiaries are not in the affected areas.
I recently acquired a new Top Bar hive to play with, this is a home made design from a guy off the net, its a Top Bar Warre. Not sure if it will work but it’ll be fun to try, i’ll keep you all posted on how this goes.
A work colleague asked if I would give a short talk to the Grassington Friendship Group on bees and bee keeping. They were a very welcoming group of about 30 mature ladies and just a few gentlemen. I had put together about 30 slides on power point, on basic bee keeping. I had also taken a National beehive filled with various frames, wax, plastic, drawn-out, etc and a selection of equipment. The icing on the cake was a 3 frame observation hive filled with bees. The talk lasted for about 30 mins, with a few questions at the end, which led nicely into tea and biscuits. While we had the intermission, I invited them to have a closer look at the hive and equipment I had brought. The meeting finished about an hour later and was thanked by several people as they left, as they had found it very interesting.
A few weeks ago we were offered a new apiary site at the back of a factory, its secluded and very quiet. I put a dummy hive on it for a week just to see if anyone messed about with it. No one had touched the hive so last week I put a hive of bees on the land. I’ve just put another one on this morning. Ive also put a camo net on the hives to help them blend into the into the environment.
I did my beekeeping basic assessment exam last August. I got the results a few months after and id passed with credit. I finally met up with guy who had my certificate, collected it last Thursday at Bradford Beekeepers. Just thought id share this with you guys.
First full inspection of the year, 13°c outside lovely and warm in the sun so decided to inspect all my hives. I had a little help from my new apprentice today, my 6 year old niece Elena. This was her first time beekeeping with uncle Paul, she must have enjoyed it as she wants to do it again. All the hives are still alive, they all have capped brood, larva and eggs. There are still a couple short on stores, so I will put feeders on in the next day or two. The top bar hive is doing very well there on 4 frames of capped brood but again a little short on stores.