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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Had our weekly inspection of the hives today and most of the new swarms are now laying. I got a nice picture of the eggs inside the comb. They look like a grain of rice in the bottom of each cell. I did find a queen-less hive so we took a frame of eggs from a full colony and put it in the queen-less one, they should make there own queen and may be a few spare. I’ve also had another go at grafting, but im not that hopeful. Ill have a peek in 3 days and let you know.
Early Saturday morning saw our usual shopping to trip to Harrogate Bee club to restock on bee supplies. On my return I was greeted by my wife saying there’s a swarm in the garden. As I got to the garden the air was full of bees and the buzzing sound was everywhere. They slowly moved from one side of the garden to the other and finally settled in a neighbours tree about 20ft up. My first thoughts were they are from my large Buckfast colony.
As they were 20ft up I would need to cobble together some equipment. This consisted of a landing net with an old tee-shirt inside with the arm and neck holes tied up and a couple of landing net pole taped together. I struggled getting anywhere near the tree in the neighbour’s garden, as it was surrounded by thick brambles and a few smaller trees. I only managed to get a few hundred bees in my makeshift net. I decided to give up there and approach it from my side of the garden. With my ladders and the net I could just reach them from my side. So there I was up a ladder armed with my net, the first try didn’t see many bees in the net. I needed something to shake the branch. Second try now armed with a mop, with the net under the bees I shook the branch with the mop. Result, the net come down with thousands of bees inside. As I poured them into the Nuc box I spotted an unmarked queen. I continued to collect the bees with my net and on the 4th go I spotted another unmarked queen. She was quickly caught and put in a cage, I could use her later to make a split. Bees were fanning at the Nuc entrance and hour later, most of them had settled in the Nuc box.
On inspection of my hives we had no swarm cells, queen cell or missing bees, so this swarm didn’t come from my apiary.