Bee Thread

If you keep other animals for productive purposes, whether for meat, wool or bi-products, here's the area to chat. I mean, you do realise chickens are the gateway drug to other animals, don't you?

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MrsMopp
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Re: Bee Thread

Post by MrsMopp » 24 Sep 2009, 10:19

Me too - thanks for sharing!!

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nigel
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Re: Bee Thread

Post by nigel » 24 Sep 2009, 13:51

well done that woman
=D> =D>
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they never use
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Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 07 Oct 2009, 18:19

At last - the video of the removal and hiving of the tree bees

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFmxGKWcE8

My son videoed and edited this.
The bees are doing well in their new home.

Itsybitsy

MrsMopp
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Re: Bee Thread

Post by MrsMopp » 07 Oct 2009, 18:53

What a privilege to see this. I'm bowing down in awe - I couldn't stick my face into a hollow full of bees!!

Was that brood or honey over the wild comb? What do you do with the wild comb? And what did you do with all the rest of the bees left in the tree at the end? Had the tree gone rotten from the inside and the bees moved in? Do they physically help the rot along somehow to make the space bigger? They seemed pretty calm, considering!

Thank you so much - and I saw a small beekeeperette who will follow in your footsteps no doubt :grin:

Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 07 Oct 2009, 19:16

MrsMopp wrote:What a privilege to see this. I'm bowing down in awe - I couldn't stick my face into a hollow full of bees!!
My son who did the filming was dressed in a beesuit.
MrsMopp wrote:Was that brood or honey over the wild comb? What do you do with the wild comb? And what did you do with all the rest of the bees left in the tree at the end? Had the tree gone rotten from the inside and the bees moved in? Do they physically help the rot along somehow to make the space bigger? They seemed pretty calm, considering!
There was mostly honey in the combs, a bit of brood was rescued, nothing easily could be done with the honey or comb, so I took it all home and boiled it up, strained it and let it cool, took off the wax from the surface and fed the resulting honey syrup back to the bees, I re-boiled the wax a couple of times to clear it of all debris. The remaining bees went into the hive, once the queen was in there the others would follow, we would have had problems if we couldn't find the queen or if she'd been killed when the tree was felled. The tree had gone rotten from the inside, the had been bees in there in the past as there was some old comb, these bees had been in residence for about a year. I don't think their presence made the tree any more rotten, I think they just took advantage of the space, they were calm, non of us got stung.
MrsMopp wrote:Thank you so much - and I saw a small beekeeperette who will follow in your footsteps no doubt :grin:
The cast of players were- Richard on the chainsaw
Sam, my son on the video and his occasional voice asking a question
Gavin, my mentor doing most of the work
James, Gavin's son and follower in footsteps :grin:
Me - the only female

Itsybitsy

Greggorio

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Greggorio » 13 Oct 2009, 16:01

True Stories: The last of the Honeybees is on More4 tonight at 10pm if anyone is interested.

Spana

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Spana » 19 Oct 2009, 15:23

Anyone hear gardeners question time yesterday afternoon. They did a bit about bees and mentioned artificial insemination of queen bees :? The mind boggles :lol:

Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 20 Oct 2009, 09:23

Spana wrote:Anyone hear gardeners question time yesterday afternoon. They did a bit about bees and mentioned artificial insemination of queen bees :? The mind boggles :lol:
I didn't hear it, but AI on queen bees is fairly routine. A lot of queen breeding is done on islands so open mating is controlled, but if you want genuine F1 hybrids then AI is the only sure way.

When the new queen emerges she hangs around the hive for a day or so to mature and then flies out to mate, if I've reared that queen I have absolutely no control over where she flies or who she mates with and first crosses can produce notoriously nasty bees.

Itsybitsy

Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 23 Oct 2009, 16:06

Tucking the Bees up for Winter

For the last few weeks the regular inspections have stopped and it's been a case of feeding them syrup................the theory being, you remove the honey crop and replace it with a sugar syrup solution as sugar is cheaper than honey, in balance some years you get a good honey crop and have to feed little syrup and other years you can get a poor or non existent honey crop and the bees would starve without syrup.........this can happen in the middle of summer too, last year being a good example of a lot of bees being fed syrup in August to prevent starvation..............Anyway, I've been feeding for about 6 weeks now, mostly the bees have taken some syrup, well I've used in excess of a 25kg sack :shock: so they have had some, but the uptake has been slow and they've filled the hive with nectar from the remaining Balsam and Ivy...........Ivy is bad news really as it crystalizes and goes rock hard and then the bees have trouble in winter trying to consume it. Ivy pollen is bright yellow and today everything in the hives has a yellow tinge.

I've had my last look through and put polystyrene lined dummy boards at each end of every hive to help the bees keep the hives warm and dry. Energy used in keeping warm is food stores. The feeders are still on but when I finally take those off I will put more polystyrene in the roof space.

Sad news as I looked through...........my beloved Thorne's queen isn't laying and hasn't been doing for 3 weeks or more, I had a quick sneaky look about 10 days ago and had my suspisions, but today has confirmed it, well there's nothing I can do about it but wait and see what happens. If she has stopped laying it basically means that hive will struggle to make it throught the winter as there are no young bees coming on.

Well I think that's all for the time being. I hope you have enjoyed reading the year in the life of a beehive. Keep your fingers crossed for them all to make it to spring

Itsybitsy

Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 01 Jan 2010, 23:17

Treating with Oxalic Acid

Despite the fact that the bees have been put to bed for winter, I treated them with Oxalic acid today. Oxalic acid kills the varroa mites. It also kills bees so care needs to be taken to ensure the correct amount is dosed. The acid is mixed in a sugar/water solution and then syringed over the bees, the bees are clustering due to the cold weather so the theory is you count the amount of frames the bees are clustering over and use that as a guide to how much treatment.

The most efficient time to treat like this is after a cold spell, which will have put the queen off lay, so hopefully there will be no brood and all the varroa will be out on the bees, nothing hatching with hatching bees.

Last week I put in the varroa trays under the open mesh floor, the debris which falls through gave me an indication as to where the bees are in the hive and how big the cluster, so I had an idea how much each hive was going to need before I opened it up. Opening up in this instance means lifting the crownboard, looking and checking the cluster and then doing the syringing.

It all went well, no problems. I washed off the varroa trays so I can accurately monitor how many mites have fallen over the next week.

Inside the hives the clusters ranged from - over 3 frames to over 7, 5 being the most popular number. The 3 frame ones may struggle to get going in the spring, and the 7 frame one may need some extra feeding.

Everything was fine, I had warmed the mixture so the bees weren't too disturbed.

A successful day.

Itsybitsy

MrsMopp
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Re: Bee Thread

Post by MrsMopp » 02 Jan 2010, 15:39

Thats a timely note - I was out for the day on Mon and when I got back my neighbour had popped over and done our hive as well as his (our swarm was originally his). My other neighbour with whom I share the bees has just bought 2 more hives. We are thinking of buying a nuc for one and having a spare hive should we have to swarm/get given another swarm, but as we will still be newbies (ie this is our first winter) do you have any special advice on buying/caring for one? We do have a mentor as well. Thank you!

Itsybitsy

Re: Bee Thread

Post by Itsybitsy » 07 Jan 2010, 16:21

Buying/caring for a nuc or a swarm?

With a swarm you can treat immediately with oxalic acid, although there is a school of thought which says most of the mites will be with the brood so a swarm should be relatively free, but mites also live on the bees so that would be my priority.

Swarms are amazing and go into hyper active mode, drawing foundation and generally just busying themselves.

Nucs are fairly easy to look after, make sure they have enough food source, put a feeder on if necessary and just wait for them to build up. If they seem a bit small you can donate a frame of hatching brood and it's accompanying young bees to help it along.

I would recommend you buy another hive, even if you only want to run one, you will need spare equipment for when they start swarm preparation, you can split the hive and either use a snelgrove board and run it as one, or split into two seperate and unite when you have a new queen (destroying the one you don't want) Or split and aim for two colonies. The only problem with swarm prep and splitting is you loose the honey crop. But it's a steep learning curve. I expanded last year and now would like to keep at roughly this level now, so my aim next year is to not increase :lol: easier said than done.

Sorry I was a bit slow replying, been a bit busy.

Itsybitsy

MrsMopp
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Re: Bee Thread

Post by MrsMopp » 07 Jan 2010, 17:00

Oh no - no need to apologise, thanks for the help. Its a nuc we're thinking of getting so its good to know they are quite straightforward. The idea is that we'll have our colony from last year (I hope, given the weather!), the nuc and a spare for any swarm control. I think 2 or 3 hives will be just right for 2 households and plenty of eager honey-consuming neighbours!

slider955i

Re: Bee Thread

Post by slider955i » 20 Feb 2010, 16:24

Itsybitsy wrote:At last - the video of the removal and hiving of the tree bees

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFmxGKWcE8

My son videoed and edited this.
The bees are doing well in their new home.

Itsybitsy
that was good to watch my wife is going on a short course next weekend and hopefully we aim to start keeping bees this spring :grin:

slider955i

Re: Bee Thread

Post by slider955i » 14 Mar 2010, 16:36

should have my 1st bees mid may :grin:

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