After a miserable start to the day the sun came out, all the hives are very busy, and the bees are bringing back lots of yellow pollen. Lets hope this nice weather keeps up.
After lunch I went off to the workshop to see what I could build today. I got 4 brood boxes built up ready to go. I then remembered I’d liberated a small sheet of 4mm plywood from a skip a few weeks ago. Too thin to make crown boards but ideal for dummy boards. I found a pack of national brood frames and armed with my air gun, they were quickly assembled. I measured and cut the sheet of plywood and an hour later I am the proud owner of 10 home made dummy boards, all for the sum of £7.50 the price of the frames bought from my local bee club.
15°C in the sun here today, all the bees were out in force. I took advantage of the warm day and had a look in most of the hives. A couple of hives had brood on 2 frames, some just small patches of brood. There were 2 that were very short of stores and no brood. I’ve a few spare frames with honey and pollen from the 2 hives I lost over winter. I’ve moved some of these frames into the struggling colonies, I also put more fondant on all the hives for when the weather changes.
Lots were out and about bringing in yellow pollen.
I failed to find any good sheets ply wood so I went to the local wood yard and bought an 8×4 sheet of 9mm exterior plywood. A very helpful guy at Merritt and Fryers in Skipton even cut the sheet up into 460mm x 460mm, saved me about an hours works measuring and cutting. We got 10 boards out of it with a little bit left over for me to make a couple of Nuc crown boards. I also bought some thin bits of wood for the edges. I’ve made the board so we have one side 9mm deep with the other side a little deeper so we can use this for treatments & feeding. The deeper side was made with off cuts we found in a skip. The boards have cost me about £3.50 each to make. Ive cut a couple of feeding holes in them too, just another 8 boards to go.
More wood liberated this morning, this was all chunky stuff so decided to make a hive stand. This will take 3 nucs or 3 hives side by side. My logic with the legs in the middle was that it will stand on a 2’x2′ flag stone if needed. I’m sure it will be fine for the nucs but if used as a hive stand it might need a few extra legs.
I now have access to as much wood as I need, namely liberating pallet wood from a friends work, with permission from his kind employer. This year Ive decided I’m just going to buy Brood boxes and make my own roofs, floors and crown boards. I did buy a few metal roof tops when Mann Lake had there sale on at £6 each. I had a play on Saturday and made 1 roof and 2 floors, just another 10 to go.
I know its early but ive started getting ready for the swarm season. Mann Lake were having a sale a few weeks ago so I ordered another 10 brood boxes and frames. Im going to make my own floors, roofs and crown boards this year, thats my next job. I also bought another 3 poly nucs from my local bee club.
I liberated some polystyrene boxes from work (free), they will make a nice 9 frame nuc box without too much work going into it. Still needs a little tweaking and I’ll need to lake a lid for it. It will take national frames and 14×12. Theres a 4 inch gap at one end, this is a good space for a feeder.
I bought a little endoscope last week so I could put it in the beehive and see what the bees are up to. Check it out on my Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/The-Bee-Yard-636954833071308/ Im going to put it in my top bar this weekend, that should be interesting. I’ll post some more pictures and videos if it works out.
Bought a new toy this week an Oxalic acid evaporator. This was imported from Germany, expensive, but a good bit of kit. This vaporises Oxalic acid crystals and helps kill off varroa mites in the hive. I put a small teaspoon of Oxalic acid in the heating pan, put the evaporator in the hive entrance, connect to a 12v battery pack and 2 mins later its done. The first try we got smoked out but then remembered you are supposed to block off the entrance with a cloth, I did OK after that. I also put a good sized block of fondant on each hive to keep them going over winter. All the colonies are still alive, but still need to keep an eye on a couple of the small ones. If the weather keeps mild they should be OK. I need to check a couple more hive at my out apiary, ill do that later in the week.
As you will be aware we have had a drop of rain up here in Yorkshire over the last couple of months and one or two floods. I left the bees alone as the damp weather and inspections don’t make for happy bees. We had a break in the weather last week so I had a quick look under the crown board to see how they are doing and they are all still alive. The air temperature is very mild for the time of year, we’ve only had a couple of frosts. On the drier days we’ve seen the bees flying and bringing dark grey pollen. The next nice day will see me adding a slab of fondant on each hive to keep them going. There is a couple of colonies that is looking small so might need to keep and eye on them and maybe combine them early in spring.
We have just got permission from a land owner to use a small area for my bee hives. Its a little late in the season now to move the bees, but next spring I’ll try it out. Ive just put a couple of dummy hives on there to see if anyone interferes with them. They are a couple of home made hives, the most expensive part is the flag stone that the stand is on.
Spot the hives, they do blend in OK
Its a little remote, but less than a mile from some of the local villages and late in the season there’s plenty balsam and heather. It will be an interesting study to see if they thrive.
I finally got my honey supers spun down this weekend, out of 4 supers I got 52lb of honey. Ill leave it a week or two to settle before I bottle it. It a little darker than last year and its got a very subtle taste of heather. I was hoping for a little more but we’ve not had the best summer.
Ive combined 4 of my weaker hives to make 2 stronger colonies so they get though winter. This takes up us down to 14 hives. Ill be getting them fed over the next few weeks so they have enough store for winter.