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So far Melanie Espin has created 37 blog entries.

Apiary Records 27 May 2018

Weather 20 degrees and sunny.   New deep foundation frames made – enough for two brood boxes.
Hive #1 – not inspected as colony creating new Queen.
Hive #2 – recently emerged queen seen.  1 capped Queen cell remaining.  No eggs or larvae yet.   Space for stores but consider adding a super next week.  Ideally need to replace old brood frames.
Hive #3 – Last inspected 20 May.  Super added.  No eggs.  Queen not seen.   Supercedure cell in the super.    Destroyed all but 2 supercedure cells in the brood box – 1 sealed and 1 unsealed.   Leave for two more weeks.   Wax moth larvae.
Hive #4 – Queen & eggs seen.  Added deep above QX to create drawn comb.  Top super ready for extraction.
Hive #5 –  4 open, charged Queen cells.  No eggs – bees unhappy.
Hive # 6 – 3 queen cells – 1 emerged.   1 removed.  Super added.
Hive #7 – Queen seen.   Removed dummy board and added new frame. 1 super full.
Hive #7A – 1 x deep.  Split from #7 on 13 May.   Queen  not seen.  Several queen cells knocked down.  Removed frame with QCs.
Hive #8 – Queen seen.  1 queen cell, knocked down.   5 frames of brood in all stages.
Nuc #2A – 2 queen cells capped.  Leave for three weeks.

Apiary Records 6 May 2018

Weather sunny and warm 24 degrees.   Inspections (except #7) not undertaken last week due to poor weather.
Hive #1 – inspected by Rowan.  14×12.  Queen seen Brood on 6 frames and plenty of stores.  Moved empty frame inside pollen barrier.
Hive #2 – inspected by Anne.  Double brood.  Queen seen.  Brood on 7 frames.  Frame of eggs and brood moved to #5.
Hive #3 – inspected by Peter R.  Single Deep.  Queen seen.  Brood on 6 frames.   Brought super below crown board.
Hive #4 – inspected by Hilary.  Double brood.  Queen seen.  Brood on 5 frames in Deep 1 and 6 frames in Deep 2.  Plenty of stores and room.  Chalk brood and sac brood seen – marked affected frame with ‘?’.  Frame 5 in Deep 2 set aside as drone trap.
Hive #5 – inspected by Hilary.  Brood + half.  Queen not seen.  2 charged queen cells (frame marked X) but no brood.   Removed the two queen cells.   Although two frames had been added from #7 two weeks ago, the cells are likely to be from the failed queen rather than the new frames.   Further frame added this week from #2.   If this fails then consider combining the colony.
Hive #6 – inspected by ?   Double brood. Queen not seen.  9 frames of brood in top Deep, 7 in bottom Deep. Plenty of stores and room.  High proportion of drone brood in bottom Deep.  Consider removing next week.
Hive #7 – inspected by Brian. Double brood.  Queen seen.  14 frames of brood – 10 in bottom Deep and 4 in top Deep.  Plenty of room and stores.  Foundation added last week had been drawn on 4 frames.   1:1 syrup added.
Hive #8 – inspected by Liz.  Double brood.  Queen not seen.  5 frames of brood on Deep 2, 2 frames on Deep 1.   Drone brood on Deep 2 removed.  Consider splitting next week.

Apiary Records 29 April 2018

Weather very cold and windy – max 8 degrees.   Colonies not inspected.   Second brood box added to #7 to provide more room for Queen to lay.   One drone brood (super) frame added to top brood box.  Two frames moved up from bottom brood to top brood to encourage building out.   Feed of 1:1 syrup added to encourage drawing of foundation.
A practical demonstration was provided, showing how to make an Asian Hornet trap.

Apiary Records – 22 April 2018

Weather 20 degrees, sunny and breezy.   First full inspection of the season.  To achieve consistency and understanding of the colonies, each will be allocated to one experienced beekeeper and a number of new beekeepers, who will remain with the colony for each inspection.
Hive # 1 – inspected by Rowan & Martin.  14 x 12.  1 super.   Queen seen.  Brood on 6 frames and plenty of stores.  4 play cups knocked down.
Hive # 2 – inspected by Anne.  Double brood.  1 super.  Queen seen.  Brood on 6 frames and plenty of stores.  QX added.
Hive # 3 – inspected by Peter R.   Single deep.  1 super.  Queen seen and marked blue – quite small.   Brood on 5 frames.  Super left above crown board to encourage brood to be built out within Deep.
Hive # 4 – inspected by David P.  Double brood.  1 super.  Brood on 10 frames, 5 in bottom Deep and 5 in top Deep.    Had been considered for Queen Rearing but discounted in favour of #6.
Hive # 5 – inspected by Graham.  Single Deep + half.  Brood scattered and minimal.  Leave for one week.  If no improvement, cull Queen.  2 frames of brood added from #7.
Hive # 6 – inspected by David P.  Queen not seen.  6.5 frames of brood in top Deep.  5 frames of brood in bottom Deep.   This colony will be used for Queen Rearing.
Hive # 7 – inspected by Brian.  Single deep below super and eke.  Queen seen and marked Red (2018).  Brood on 8 frames.  Plenty of stores in Deep.   Super empty.  Corrected inverted floor.   Two frames of bas removed and placed in # 5, to create space for brood.
Hive # 8 – inspected by Liz.  Single deep.  1 super.  Queen seen.   Brood on 11 frames.  Additional brood box added to create more room for laying.  Frame of bas taken from bottom Deep and placed in top Deep.

Apiary Records – 18 April 2018

Weather 24 degrees and sunny.   Brief mid-week inspection following two weeks of bad weather.   First full inspection to be undertaken on Sunday 22 April.
Hive # 1 – 14 x 12 Deep.  Queen seen, marked yellow (2017).  Brood on 6 frames.  Sufficient stores.  QX and Super added.
Hive # 2 – Double brood.  Queen seen, marked yellow (2017).  Brood on 6 frames.  Sufficient stores.   Queen placed in bottom Deep.  Consider as possible colony for Queen Rearing.
Hive #3 – Deep + half.  Brood on 4 frames in Deep.  Moved 2 feet to new position as very close to Hive #2.  Queen seen, blue (2016).  high drone brood.  QX and crown board added.  Super placed above crown board.
Hive # 4 – Double brood.  Brood on 10 frames, 5 in bottom deep and 5 in top deep.  Consider as possible colony for Queen Rearing.
Hive #5 – Single deep.  Queen not seen (white, 2016).   2 charged queen cells removed.  QX on.
Hive #6 – Single deep and super above eke.  Brood on 4 frames.   QX added.  Keep feeding with 1:1 syrup.
Hive # 7 – Single deep and two supers.  Queen seen.
Hive # 8 – Double brood.  Queen seen marked yellow (2017).  Sufficient stores & room.

Bees Abroad

Members attending the 6 January 2018 winter talk were fortunate to hear Geoff Redwood’s presentation on the work of the charity Bees Abroad.
Geoff is the Chair of Farnham Beekeepers and works with Bees Abroad as a volunteer.  The charity was formed in 1999 and aims to provide training and education in beekeeping skills in developing countries.  Projects are primarily undertaken in Africa but work has been undertaken in other areas including Nepal and South America.   Projects are designed to be appropriate to the locality, and to enable beekeepers to become self-sufficient.
Together with local NGOs, the charity works with new beekeepers to develop skills such as hive building, apiary set-up, extraction, wax processing and the development of business cases to sell products.   Hive building and apiary set-up is in line with tradition and local practice.
Training presents the additional challenge of dealing with the highly defensive African honeybee and for a host of predators unfamiliar to beekeepers in the UK, including honey badgers, snakes and reptiles.  Colonies tend to be smaller and may swarm five or six times a year.  Varroa and disease is therefore less of a problem but honey yield may be smaller.
For more information or to support the charity, please see the charity’s website www.beesabroad.co.uk, or email info@beesabroad.co.uk.

Winter Beekeeping – January in the Apiary

Although the weather may be too cold and wet for bees to be active, there are still a number of things to do in the apiary to make sure both bees and beekeepers are well-prepared for a flying start when Spring arrives.    Members who attended the 6 January winter meeting were given some useful hints and tips by Brian Herbert.
~ Check hives for rodents, woodpecker and storm damage.
~ Check stores.  Either heft the hive or, if the weather is mild, check for stores in the top of the super or brood.
~If feeding is required, make sure you have sufficient fondant.  This can either be bought from beekeeping suppliers or baking wholesalers, or home-made. If making your own, recipes are available on a number of websites.
~If in doubt, add fondant but make sure this is removed as the season begins.
~Examine and clean all spare equipment.  Propolis is easier to remove in colder temperatures.
~Check stored comb and boxes regularly for wax moth.  Either treat frames and supers with acetic acid, or freeze.  Badly damaged frames should be burnt.  Note that acetic acid corrodes metal, so all metal parts should be removed before treatment.
~Consider whether you want to treat with oxalic acid and if so, whether the trickle or vapour method is to be used.   Note that for treatment to be effective, the colony must be broodless.   A broodless period can be encouraged by allowing sufficient airflow in the hive.
~Plan for the forthcoming season.  How do you intent to manage swarms? Do you want to increase the number of colonies?  Do you intent to do a full comb change early in the season?
~Check whether you have enough equipment.  As a rough guide, it may be useful to have three supers and a spare brood box for each hive.

Apiary Meeting 15 October 2017

Weather unusually warm >20 degrees.  Bees flying and bringing in pollen.
Acetic acid treatment completed and pads removed.  Entrance blocks out in place but due to warm weather and high activity levels, mouseguards not yet placed.  Woodpecker guards put around hives.   Under-supered hives 2, 2A, 4, 7 & 8, i.e. all hives except 14×12 or double brood.
Last apiary meeting of the year.

Apiary Meeting 20 August 2017

Weather 20 degrees and cloudy.  Varroa treatment (Apistan) undertaken on all hives, including new beekeepers’ hives.
Batch 1609203035.  Expiry 10/2019.
Hive #1 – inspected by Richard.  Queen seen, still with damaged abdomen but continuing to lay.  Brood on 5 frames.  Some deformed wing virus and wax moth.  One wet super removed. Varroa = 50.
Hive #2 inspected by ?  Three emerged queen cells. No young brood.  Knocked down 4 queen cells.  Wet super not cleared and being re-filled.  One super of stores.
Hive # 2A – inspected by Mel.  2 x brood boxes.  Apistan applied to bottom brood only – brood on 6 frames.  Queen seen in bottom brood. Some sac brood.
Hive #3 – inspected by Mel.  2x deeps.  Queen not seen.  Brood on 4 frames.  Plenty of stores in top deep.  Varroa = 32.
Hive #4 – inspected by Anne.  Queen seen.  Brood on 6 frames. One capped queen cell. One uncapped queen cell in supercedure position (did not remove).  One uncapped queen cell removed.  4 frames not drawn, one moved to encourage drawing.
Hive # 6 – inspected by Anne.  2x deeps. Queen not seen. Brood in top box.
Hive #7 – inspected by Brad.  Queen not seen. Evidence of bald brood, chalk brood and parasitic mite syndrome.
Hive #8 – inspected by Liz.  Queen not seen.  Wet super being re-filled. Moved frames with stores below crown board.  Varroa = 29.
Observation hive – inspected by Rowan. Queen seen. Brood in 3 frames. Evidence of sac brood.  Suggest may not be suitable,Emma’s observation hive.