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Apiary report 11th July 2020

July 11th  Peter Reader

Hive 3.  Lots of bees and Queen laying well, bees making space for her to lay.  Three supers full, fourth super nearly full.  Didn’t have another super so added a 14×12 above QE to give them space.  Hive now 6ft tall (see photo).  Will extract 2 supers this coming week.

Two supers removed on 14 July, 39lb honey extracted.  Supers replaced, one below crown board, one with 50% crystallised above for cleaning down.  Bees very calm.

Peter Reader

Apiary report 27th June 2020

June 27th  Peter Reader.

Hive 3. Double brood, 15 frames BIAS. Once again found 2 queen cells that looked like polo mints, see photo. Queen seen, all good.  Supers filling up

Peter Reader

Apiary report 22nd June 2020

Since our last visit, Pippa has kindly extracted approximately 95lbs of apiary honey from four supers. Graham subsequently returned these to the appropriate colonies for the bees to clean.

In view of the continued expansion of brood/stores and a dearth of available equipment, apart from general inspection of the colonies, the theme of this apiary visit was ‘Space and Spacers’…

In attendance:
Graham Rowden
Rowan Roberts
Chris Clark

The four freshly cleaned supers were reused in the colonies where required.
To create more space, spacers were used in the supers. These were used in an interlocking manner in partially drawn comb/foundation and end-to-end in drawn comb/uncapped stores. This reduces the number of frames required in the supers and increases the thickness of the comb leading to more capacity for storage. Hoffman, self-spacing, frames are generally used at the apiary. With wear and tear, these spacings become less efficient. This was the case for some of the frames used in both supers and brood boxes. For this reason, the narrower spacers were also used in some of the brood boxes. (See pictures).
Adequate space was maintained in all colonies. Charged queen cells were seen in Richard’s colony. A full super was placed above porter-bee escapes ready for extraction in Rowan’s colony. (See video resume).
As we are heading towards the main nectar flow we are making up more brood and super frames at home to try and bridge this shortfall.

Chris Clark

Apiary report 20th June 2020

June 20th  – Peter Reader

Hive 3.
Top brood box 7 frames, largely eggs/larvae.  Bottom box 7 frames BIAS.  Four supers with noticeably more stores than the previous week.  Overall happy hive and the queen is back at full tilt laying.  I did find 2 queen cells with royal jelly but the middle had been eaten out so it looked like a polo mint.  They must have thought about it and then changed their minds!

Peter Reader

Apiary report 13th June 2020

June 13th  Peter Reader

Hive 3.  Double brood box, 7 frames BIAS in top and 8 BIAS in bottom although there has been a significant slow down in egg-laying, almost certainly due to lack of nectar flow.  Four supers, but the stores have actually diminished slightly.  Chalkbrood less than previous weeks.

Peter Reader

Apiary report 7th June 2020

June 7th  – Peter Reader

Hive 3

Double brood box. Top brood box 7 frames largely eggs & larvae and bottom brood box 8 frames largely capped brood.  One sac brood cell in evidence. A fair amount of chalkbrood on the floor but not on frames.  Three supers partially full and 4th full super placed above crown board with porter escapes for extraction. An overall nice colony that will be at full tilt with foragers mid-July onwards for (hopefully) peak nectar flow.

Peter Reader

Apiary report 5th June 2020

The primary objectives of this apiary visit were:
1. Select and prepare the supers for extracting
2. General inspection of colonies
3. Ensuring maintenance of adequate space
4. No evidence of tendency to swarm

In attendance:
Graham Rowden
Rowan Roberts
Chris Clark

The brood and stores in all colonies continued to expand. (There was an encouraging increase in the five colonies with the new Buckfast queens).
Two full supers from each of Rowan and Richard’s colonies were put above the crown boards, plus porter bee escapes, with a view to extracting next week. This will free up to four extra supers. (N.B. Peter also has two full supers which will probably need extracting).
Two new supers were added where required and an additional brood box containing frames of foundation was put above the queen excluder in Rowan’s colony for the bees to draw out fresh comb.
Adequate space was maintained, no charged queen cells were seen, only the odd play-cup.
Apart from the evidence of chalkbrood outside Dean’s colony (not inspected) there were no overt signs of disease in any of the colonies inspected.

Chris Clark

Apiary report 30th May 2020

Apiary report Peter Reader.

Hive 3 All good.  Queen seen.  Top brood box has 7 BIAS  bottom one has 7 frames largely sealed brood. Two supers full, 3rd half full so added 4th super directly over brood. Bees very calm.

I also inspected Dean’s hive (1b I think);

Lots of chalk brood on floor under hive and bees were insanely aggressive – followed me all the way to the main road. Queen seen (marked green) and 5.5 frames BIAS. One super half full. Perhaps they were in a bad mood because of the chalk brood – see attached photo.

Apiary report 29th May 2020

In view of the nectar flow and subsequent rapid expansion of stores the primary objective of this apiary inspection was to ensure that there was sufficient space in the colonies so helping avoid the urge to swarm.

In attendance:
Graham Rowden
Rowan Roberts
Chris Clark

The brood and in particular the stores continued to expand.  Existing supers were filling and new ones were added where needed. This has lead to a dearth of ones to use. To help overcome this our homework this week was to make up new supers. In addition to this at our next apiary visit, we will start making preparations to extract honey.
Sufficient space was maintained in all colonies.
(Also see Rowan’s video synopsis below)

We are all in top-gear in an attempt to prevent swarming at this time of year. It is very tempting to knock down queen cells as soon as they are seen. I find it difficult to control my hive tool when I see one! The message from the apiary is that when a queen cell is seen STOP and THINK. First, ensure that there is evidence that a queen is present (Queen/eggs).

Chris Clark

Apiary report 23rd May 2020

The primary objective of this apiary inspection was to ensure that the Buckfast queens in the five newly populated colonies had started to lay and the brood was expanding, also to ensure the donor colonies had settled.

In attendance:
Graham Rowden
Rowan Roberts
Peter Reader
Dean Gregory
Chris Clark
Elizabeth Eveleigh

The weather started off heavy and overcast, temperature 17 degrees C. After the first hive inspection rain stopped play. Having packed up, the skies cleared and the sun came out, so we decided to press on! Despite this changeable weather, the bees were very good-tempered.
The brood was expanding nicely in the new colonies, the donors being fine. Probably the most striking observation was the massive increase in stores in all colonies due to the nectar flow. We ensured there was adequate space in all colonies.
The unmarked Buckfast queen from colony 23 was marked blue.
Due to the rapid expansion of stores, the next apiary visit was arranged for six days.
(Also see Rowan’s video synopsis.)
N.B. Gareth had collected his nuc., so the apiary now has nine colonies.

Chris Clark