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Produce => Kept Animals => Topic started by: SamLouise on November 19, 2009, 17:49:26

Title: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: SamLouise on November 19, 2009, 17:49:26
For your beekeeping chit chat :)

I can't create a sub-board so I hope this sticky thread will be ok to start with.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: betula on November 19, 2009, 17:59:12
Oh this is good,just need Tony or Robert to kick off now   ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 19, 2009, 18:08:06
This is a brilliant idea; maybe the chicken people would like a board as well?

I sneaked a look at my bees this afternoon; all four hives are alive. I don't usually lose them this time of year, it tends to be around January. Lasy year I lost two out of six in the autumn, and they were seriously weakin the spring, when another dwindled away. I suspect the problem was malnutrition due to the bad autumn weather. They were confined to the hives and using up what stores they had when they should have been bringing in a lot of ivy pollen. Pollen is the source of all their nutrition apart from carbohydrate, and I think that was the problem.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 19, 2009, 22:15:20
Well, here we go!!
my two hives are apparently doing really well, still flying in mid-november, bringing in some pollen (suspect it is from mahonia) and some nectar from ivy. I 'hefted' them today, and they are both  bl**dy heavy!!
One of my queens is an '08 queen,(collected swarm) and by the colour of her, got a fair bit of italian in her. The other one is a '09  'norfolk mongrel',(purchased nuc) and a lot darker. both hives are in 'commercial' broods, solid floors, feed holes in the crown boards open for the winter.
Bees still flying most days, and even still got a few drones!!


how many other Beeks are members here?
how many / what type of bees / hives has everyone else got??
come on, don't be shy!! ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gwynnethmary on November 19, 2009, 23:07:53
Hi- we don't keep bees, but my husband has just made a lovely des res for bumble bees to go in our garden- has also made a posh version for our son and daughter-in-law for Christmas.  When is the best time to place it in the garden ?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 19, 2009, 23:15:44
Six Nationals, all converted to 14x12. Four are occupied, as my September splits failed.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Geoff H on November 19, 2009, 23:17:43
Hi- we don't keep bees, but my husband has just made a lovely des res for bumble bees to go in our garden- has also made a posh version for our son and daughter-in-law for Christmas.  When is the best time to place it in the garden ?
Spring. The queens have gone into hibernation now and will start looking for nests in spring. You can buy bumble nests but most don't get occupied and your hubbies may suffer the same fate. Bumble bees nest in the debris of old mouse or rats nests and I have read that the queen bee seeks them out by following the scent of rodent urine.
Last summer i had to rescue a bumble bee nest that had been exposed by a shed demolition. It was in the middle of  a mass of paper and dry moss. If you can get any pet bedding from suitable specie that might help but they do need suitable material in the box. Remember it only lasts a year.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 19, 2009, 23:18:12
Hi- we don't keep bees, but my husband has just made a lovely des res for bumble bees to go in our garden- has also made a posh version for our son and daughter-in-law for Christmas.  When is the best time to place it in the garden ?
now, to let mice move in for the winter, it's the smell of mice that bumble bees look for
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 19, 2009, 23:20:01
Six Nationals, all converted to 14x12. 
were they easy to convert?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on November 19, 2009, 23:24:00
I united four stocks into two . Unfortunately I could not find the queen in one stock so the pair were united with two queens. Presumably they fought and one won. Don't know which one yet. Both stocks on double brood and both fed with 1.5-2 gals syrup. However, they worked something (ivy?) afterwards taking in so much pollen and nectar that they are too heavy to heft. Any bit of dry weather they are still flying and working some flowers. Hopefully they will come through the winter as strong stocks because (un)fortunately oilseed rape about 100 yds away. I think I might try for some cut comb because quick granulation will not matter as I will not need to extract it.
Just ended two years of chairman of the local group and we are lucky to have Kate Humble as one of our members now as she lives in the area and has acquired bees from another of our members.
Had a good day promoting beekeeping and the importance of pollination at a local 'apple day'. There is so much interest that our training course has double the amount of applicants they we can handle effectively.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Geoff H on November 19, 2009, 23:25:08
My honey bees.....I have 4 strong colonies all in commercials with one queenless colony dying out - I have explained why I did not combine them in another thread.
Two strong colonies are Carniolans - lovely bees and two are black mongrels - a bit more feisty so stuck at the back of a farm. The Carniolans are in my garden and i can take photos 12 inches away without protection.
I have invested in a polystyrene hive from Denmark - Langstroth with Dadant brood frame which I want to try next year. I want to try Italians and perhaps Buckfast on my allotment.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: paulinems on November 19, 2009, 23:54:23
huby has 1 hive at the moment but didnt get any honey this year he hopes to have more hives for next year is starting to make himeself more hive ready for new bees for next year
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 20, 2009, 15:14:54
are everyone else's bees still flying ?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 20, 2009, 17:00:48
Mine are flying a bit on the brighter days, but that's all. Thorne's do a 14x12 converter (at an exorbitant price) so it's really easy. If you're any good at woodwork you could get one and copy it. I'm never comfortable keeping colonies in single Nationals, as even a small broodnest will fill one leaving very little space for stores. I've tried double box systems and it's too much palaver, so I have everything on the larger frames.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on November 20, 2009, 20:16:18
We are just ending our first season as beekeepers.  We have two hives, both currently on ordinary nationals, but intending to convert to 14x12 next year since both became overcrowded in the summer.  One colony are Carniolans, the other a dark coloured mongrel swarm.

OMFs on both,  and crown boards left on for the winter.  Both are being fed fondant at the moment, but to be honest they probably didn't need it since the mild weather has meant that they were still foraging as of last weekend.

We recently gave them a Hiveclean treatment since there were still a few varroa on the floor in spite of Apiguard in September.  But right now the mites are our only obvious worry as we head into winter.  Both look like strong colonies, so fingers crossed.  We'll be putting anti-woodpecker wire around the hives as soon as the frosts arrive.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Twoflower on November 20, 2009, 20:26:28
Has anyone tried the icing sugar trick for varroa on honey bee? I emptied out my spring bulb pots the back end of last month and disturbed a orange bottomed bumble bee ( it was a big one so i think it must have been a Queen ) which was covered in what looked like mites. Having read that icing sugar grains are the same size as the holes the mites breathe though, and so if covered with icing sugar they can't breathe and fall off i thought I'd give it a go. Well the bumble bee didn't seem to mind being covered in sugar and when i went back to check she was beautifully clean with not a mite to be seen. I just wondered if anyone has tried the same trick? :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Geoff H on November 20, 2009, 20:42:24
Bumble bees don't get varroa. There is a debate on at present as to whether icing sugar is really that effective. I am going to be dosing mine with oxalic acid solution next month.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on November 20, 2009, 23:20:29
I put icing sugar on one of my colonies early this year and it appeared to work. Varroa seen on the hive floor insert before treatment and during treatment but none afterwards so it appeared to work. Will try it again next spring because I don't want to use chemicals when the bees are gathering nectar and storing honey. However, treated with Apiguard so there may be no need for any spring treatment.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: InfraDig on November 21, 2009, 08:07:23
Please can anyone supply instructions for homemade beehives? I have been looking around but all I can see at the moment is fairly sketchy. Can anyone also spare the time to explain all the variations eg number and type of boxes, shapes etc. Many thanks for any help.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: InfraDig on November 21, 2009, 08:39:32
I have a design for a top bar hive by P J Chandler. Why is it that shape (trapezoidal)? Is there something wrong with just using a normal box shape.?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 21, 2009, 14:46:05
They're that shape because apparently (I haven't experimented) the bees don't stick the comb to the sides as much. I think Beesource has plans for Langstroth hives, but I don't know any online plans for British types. If you're going to try making your own, look carefully at the joints. The bought ones have a type (I forget the technical name) which requires very accurate cutting, but some people in the US make their own, and use simpler types. Apart from that, you could buy a hive and copy it.

I haven't tried icing sugar. I believe it's efficient at knocking down the phoretic mites (ie those on adult bees). At the same time, it doesn't touch the mites in cells, and in the active season, that's going to be the majority. It's OK as an emergency treatment if a colony gets overrun by mites, but you need to plan treatments, rather than relying on stopgaps. I'll be using oxalic acid in the next few weeks, once the amount of brood has minimised (it never disappears altogether in my strain). I've also found a wide variation in the mitefall at the end of the season, and I'm going to be using that in my queen selection. If I select for low mitefall, there's a good chance I'll be selecting for some form of resistance.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 21, 2009, 15:20:04
Please can anyone supply instructions for homemade beehives? I have been looking around but all I can see at the moment is fairly sketchy. Can anyone also spare the time to explain all the variations eg number and type of boxes, shapes etc. Many thanks for any help.
if you really interested in bees, check out this beekeping site, and have a lookj at the 'video' section, hedgerow pete's guide to various beehives, etc
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on November 25, 2009, 20:17:43
are everyone else's bees still flying?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: naff on November 25, 2009, 20:50:22
Infradig,
              Try www.woodworkersworkshop.com and search the site. There are loads of plans etc.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: InfraDig on November 25, 2009, 22:39:08
Looks good! Thank you. I may be some time....!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 26, 2009, 18:16:07
My bees were well and truly clustered today. One colony looks as though it's down to two frames of bees, which isn't good, but they're all alive.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 07, 2009, 20:45:07
I've been making candy today. I took an old recipe from Wedmore's 'Manual of Beekeeping' 1946, and still in print. There's nothing like it). 4lb of sugar to 1 pint of water. That's roughly two Kg sugar to 500 ml water, with a bit extra water for luck. Boil it down until you can drop it into cold water, and it forms a soft lump. You know when it's coming because it starts to string instead of falling cleanly from a spoon. Don't let it caramelise at all - stir until all the sugar's dissolved, and err on the side of too much water. Bees can't digest caramel, so it boulds up in their gut if there's a long cold spell and they can't get out for a poo. Potentially, this can kill your bees.

Pour it into containers - I use old bread tins - and put a lump on top of the brrodchamber if you think there's any chance of their running short. I don't think my bees will, but they started from nothing this year, and the broodboxes are very far from full of stores. A tin of candy will keep a hive going all winter (when my strain uses very little), and all through a bad spring as well. Since it's already got water in the mix, the bees don't have to dilute it much before they can use it (some people deny that they dilute it at all) so there's no stress to the hive. Bees produce water as they metabolise sugars, so the cluster will always have a little available.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 07, 2009, 22:40:44
I 'hefted' mine at the weekend, very heavy indeed. They still bringing in pollen (probably mahonia) when it's dry and warm enough to fly
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 08, 2009, 16:50:25
Mine tend to be moderate in everything. The amount of honey used over winter is very small, but a year's accumulation of stores, while more then enough to get them through, leaves me worrying about their being left with nothing again is we get another summer like the one before last. So I'll be feeding until they're heavy again, which will take another summer or two.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on December 08, 2009, 23:19:18
I am concerned that my hives have gone from being very very heavy to heavy in just over a month. I hope we get some cold weather to slow their activity down. I do not want to feed candy but maybe forced to if they continue to eat their stores at the same rate.   
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 09, 2009, 19:55:50
Sounds as though they probably still have large broodnests. I requeen hives like that. They're a native species, and they should be able to survive withoiut feeding!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 11, 2009, 22:25:52
well, I actually saw a drone today!, he came and had a look out of the door, and wandered back in !!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 12, 2009, 19:15:28
I had drones all through last winter. It's common with native British bees. Most strains have a lot of native blood.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 13, 2009, 14:46:58
these are 'norfolk mongrels' from Easton College apiary, very dark bees, and also good-tempered.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 13, 2009, 16:38:59
There may be less mongrelisation than you realise, since you've mentioned the two most obvious characteristics of native bees! I've had a fair few 'mongrel' strains over the years, and not one of them has been as good tempered as my natives. It would be worth doing some morphometry to see, though some people have had strains that looked and acted just like native bees, which eventually turned out to be adapted hybrids.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 13, 2009, 16:54:58
I'll do a bit or morphometry in the spring, I'll also breed from that hive, the other hive will need re-queening, it's got a carni-type '08 queen in it, again, very good-tempered.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 13, 2009, 23:34:34
Carniolan crossed with native Amm has an extremely bad reputation. I've tried carnie crosses twice, and they've been seriously nasty.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 31, 2009, 13:27:51
Hive an Api New Year!! ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 31, 2009, 17:17:30
I gave mine an oxalic treatment the other day, and found that two have died out. It always seems to be hives headed by queens raised the previous summer, but I had no lack of drones so it shouldn't be down to poor mating.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 31, 2009, 19:05:33
I gave mine an oxalic treatment the other day, and found that two have died out. It always seems to be hives headed by queens raised the previous summer, but I had no lack of drones so it shouldn't be down to poor mating.
so, these were 'o8 queens?
I'm treating my 2 tomorrow, NYD, one of them is this yrs Q, the other is an '08 Q. I'll let you know how they are.
happy new yr, rgds, Tony
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 01, 2010, 13:31:00
treated my 2 hives with Oxalic Acid today, both seem to be doing well, with 8 seams of bees in each hive.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 01, 2010, 16:06:09
Not '08, 09. Once they've come through a winter they're usually OK.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 01, 2010, 16:57:51
interesting observation, robert!, hope the rest of your bees get through the winter OK.  ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 03, 2010, 21:01:04
had a few out flying over  the snow today, only one hive though?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 04, 2010, 18:26:43
They vary a lot. Some fly over snow, and often end up dead in it, others won't. the latter are probably better adapted to our climate.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on January 06, 2010, 15:52:39
We did our oxalic acid treatment last Sunday.  We were a bit worried, since one of the association hives at the local BKA apiary which had recently been treated had a pile of dead bees outside, and others blocking the mouseguard.  But when we checked yesterday, we'd only lost a few - presumably some of those that flew into the cold air and couldn't get back to the cluster in time.

It was reassuring to know that both colonies had survived thus far at least.  We added another layer of insulation under the roof while we had the lid off.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 07, 2010, 13:15:24
Insulation? are you using OMF's? I'm still using solid floors, and have no insulation at all, just got porter escapes in the crown board for ventilation. (I don't use the old 'matchstick under the crown board' sketch)  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on January 07, 2010, 13:20:04
There seems to be no set advice on winter ventilation/insulation, but much debate!

We took the advice of our BKA mentor, and left the OMFs on, but put a layer of insulation in the roof (now two layers).
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 07, 2010, 16:29:58
I've been using OMF's all the year round for years, having been persuaded by the guy who popularised the idea. I've never insulated anything. Bees survive happily in far lower temperatures than we ever see here, but they do have a problem with our damp winters. Good ventilation is what they need.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 13, 2010, 20:18:22
Woo Woo !! I've just been given the OK to site my 2 hives behind some dis-used barns (building site) for the OSR flower season on the field next door to the site in a village a few miles away. The builder's son was very interested, as he's thinking of taking up the craft, and will appreciate a bit of 'hands on' before he fully commits, (so every-one wins!  ;D)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on February 24, 2010, 23:09:34
The temperature crept up to 10C today, so I did a quick lift of the lid.  Both colonies are still OK, and still have fondant available.  More to the point, both were out and about, if only for the occasional cleansing flight.  I'm beginning to be optimistic that they'll make it.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 24, 2010, 23:16:03
I've only ever lost one after this time, and that was down to a failing queen. I've only got one left out of four, so i've got some rebuilding to do.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on March 11, 2010, 20:50:31
anyone else filled this in? a survey of british beeks
http://www.peoplescienceandpolicy.com/beestudy/
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on March 11, 2010, 21:27:42
I have now.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on March 18, 2010, 15:59:46
The bees are flying strongly.  The weather is warm enough for them to be collecting pollen, so there must be brood in both colonies.

I took the mouseguards off (still with an entrance block of course) to give them a bit more room to come and go.

I'm happy.  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on March 18, 2010, 17:00:16
Mine were also bringing in bits of pollen, probably from hazel. I use permanently reduced entrances which double up as mouseguards, so there's no way the little buggers will ever get in!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on March 18, 2010, 19:59:44
my bees are working the crocus at the moment.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on March 21, 2010, 18:07:44
cleaned the floors of both my hives today, i must say they are very house-proud, hardly any debris on the floors. also sealed the crownboard. both colonies flying strongly and bringing in loads of pollen and water.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: straush on April 03, 2010, 10:41:56
hi - how effective is swarm lure ?    i am going to get my first hive in a few weeks. 

i am in east london and was wondering how far a swarm will travel to find a new home.  is that even an option for me ?

there are downsides of course but 200 quid seemed a bit extreme to get some bees.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 06, 2010, 09:41:25
hi - how effective is swarm lure ?    i am going to get my first hive in a few weeks. 

i am in east london and was wondering how far a swarm will travel to find a new home.  is that even an option for me ?

there are downsides of course but 200 quid seemed a bit extreme to get some bees.

get yourself signed up to your local bekeeping association, find a mentor, that should help with the cost of bees. swarm lures are discussed on beekeeping forums such as http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 06, 2010, 09:42:51
one of my hives at 9.o'clock this morning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5pdyRyiguk
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Duke Ellington on April 06, 2010, 09:49:09
Tony you have what are known as BUSY BEES!!  :P

Duke  ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 08, 2010, 11:22:33
I've never tried lures, but old comb is supposed to be as good, and I often get swarms moving into empty hives.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 18, 2010, 15:46:17
my hives yesterday
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvR94VBANsQ
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Spookyville on April 26, 2010, 00:13:36
what is the consensus on the new fangled omlet beehaus hives? Must admit they look the part.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 26, 2010, 08:42:28
what is the consensus on the new fangled omlet beehaus hives? Must admit they look the part.

There is no consensus.  They are based on the 'Dartington Hive', which although it has been about for years, never became really popular. The plastic version hasn't been around for long enough to gather any proper feed-back. There is a place to look for info on the beehaus, here http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=39
the jury will be out for a long time on this, I think!!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Spookyville on April 26, 2010, 14:34:20
thanks for the info tonybloke
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 26, 2010, 18:44:38
The beehaus hive is extremely expensive, and serves a niche market at best. The common British hive is the National, available for £155 with frames here: http://www.beechwoodbees.co.uk/hives.html
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 08, 2010, 17:20:37
the woods Apidictor
'listen to the bees' lecture by eric woods, 1959
http://www.manxsouvenirs.com/Bees/Listen%20to%20your%20Bees.mp3
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 16, 2010, 00:19:27
I found a colony suffering from isolation starvation today. Not what you expect in May! They were on the brood, two inches from the food, and it's been too cold for them to leave the cluster to feed. I doused them with sugar syrup and they soon started looking livelier. They should be OK now with the weather warming up. It'll really have knocked them back though.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 18, 2010, 17:14:23
definately not what you expect in May, Robert!! glad you seem to have sorted out the problem.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 18, 2010, 17:15:11
My friend's Top Bar Hive (with bees in it)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SOG3aUKGck
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 19, 2010, 17:55:39
My bees have survived, but as I suspected, the brood is dead, and a lot of bees have died. So it's back where it was in March. The queen was running around looking quite healthy though, so they should be OK.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on May 19, 2010, 22:26:10
One hive from a cast last year is now on about 15 frames of brood (corner to corner) in a double brood. I need to raise queens from it as soon as possible because they are gentle, in order to re-queen three other stocks I have been given by a retiring beekeeper which are somewhat aggressive. Not sure about their productivity yet but the other stocks are not very nice to handle so the queens must go. Maybe unite two of them to make a stronger stock.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 20, 2010, 17:09:43
It's quite hot and sultry, classic swarming weather, and I've had mobs of bees round my empty hives all day. I used to think this is robbing, but I've had swarms move in so often that I just assume the hive's being checked out either by a swarm or by a hive making preparations. It happens so regularly that I think there must be a not-too-good beekeper not far away who keeps losing swarms!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 20, 2010, 23:16:21
It happens so regularly that I think there must be a not-too-good beekeper not far away who keeps losing swarms!

Bargain!! :D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 30, 2010, 17:03:02
had to put another super on my No1 hive, (that's 4 so far!) have put a clearer board in, so will take off top super on tuesday, Yummy, this years honey. MMMMMMmmmmmm
[attachment=1]
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: hyacinth_1 on July 14, 2010, 20:24:28
Hello everyone.  I noticed it has been a while since anyone was on about their bees.  I have noticed in my greenhouse/hut at the back that at the beginning of this year I saw a bee going under the floorboards of the shed, well I did not give it another thought as I was just trying to get things growing and it has been an awful spring and early summer. I have tomatoes growing also cucumbers in the greenhouse and when I sit and watch the bees come in through the windows and the open door and with legs full of yellow they are going down through the floorboard under the shed. 

There are some big ones I think they are bumble bees dark to black with yellow stripes through them.  Can anyone tell me am I safe when I go in will they swarm eventually or what have I to do for them to stay safe and for me to be safe.
I would appreciate any comments, I am not a bee grower. New allotment I got last autumn.

Jude :o
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Vortex on July 15, 2010, 08:25:57
Sounds like bumble bees - see here http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/ (http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/)
They'll pack up in the autumn and leave - they don't "swarm" like honey bees.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 15, 2010, 20:30:13
You're perfectly safe, and they're extremely useful pollinators.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: busy_lizzie on July 30, 2010, 18:59:09
Hi all, Have really been fascinated to read all your reports about your bees. A few weeks ago I did a beekeeping course and I have attended one beekeepers association meeting. I would really love to keep bees, and next March I am hoping to do a more indepth course in Kirkley Hall in Northumberland. I hope when I become more knowledgable and experienced I can start one hive off at my allotment (the committee are busy doing a bee keeping policy) so hopefully I will get permission.

I  hope I can get some handson experience at a local beekeepers in the mean time.  First thing I need to do is get a protective suit and gloves. Can anybody give me some advice on where to go for a decent one that will give me good protection? Thanks if you can point me in the right direction. busy_lizzie  :-*
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Vortex on July 30, 2010, 19:57:00
You could try http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/ (http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/) or http://www.bbwear.co.uk/ (http://www.bbwear.co.uk/).
You might also find it useful to join http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php (http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php).
Note - a suit alone won't protect you neither will a pair of gloves. The object is to have nice calm bees (well most of the time) that don't have a tendency to sting. Whilst I have a pair of goatskin gloves I prefer to use nitrile gloves these days, as it gives me a better feel of where the bees are, and therefore have less chance of inadvertantly squashing a bee, hence less chance of getting stung.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on July 30, 2010, 20:00:05
Hi all, Have really been fascinated to read all your reports about your bees. A few weeks ago I did a beekeeping course and I have attended one beekeepers association meeting. I would really love to keep bees, and next March I am hoping to do a more indepth course in Kirkley Hall in Northumberland. I hope when I become more knowledgable and experienced I can start one hive off at my allotment (the committee are busy doing a bee keeping policy) so hopefully I will get permission.

I  hope I can get some handson experience at a local beekeepers in the mean time.  First thing I need to do is get a protective suit and gloves. Can anybody give me some advice on where to go for a decent one that will give me good protection? Thanks if you can point me in the right direction. busy_lizzie  :-*


try here it's the stuff I use
http://www.beekeeping.co.uk/catalogue/NBS_3.pdf
Combined Jacket and Veil
Round Hood (Deluxe)
Beekeepersí Trousers

I've seen cheaper ones at association apiary visits, but, you buys cheap, you pays dear, IMHO
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on July 30, 2010, 20:00:52
You could try http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/ (http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/) or http://www.bbwear.co.uk/ (http://www.bbwear.co.uk/).
You might also find it useful to join http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php (http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php).
Note - a suit alone won't protect you neither will a pair of gloves. The object is to have nice calm bees (well most of the time) that don't have a tendency to sting. Whilst I have a pair of goatskin gloves I prefer to use nitrile gloves these days, as it gives me a better feel of where the bees are, and therefore have less chance of inadvertantly squashing a bee, hence less chance of getting stung.
are you on that forum, Vortex?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: busy_lizzie on July 30, 2010, 22:28:22
Thanks all for your advice, and links. I know that it is helpful to have a good natured colony to prevent stings. When I was at the beekeepers meeting a few weeks ago, one of the beekeepers said he deliberately gets stung every April, to make sure he is not allergic to them, and he recommended that each beekeeper did the same.  Just wanted advice on where to get the best equipment and a decent suit is crucial so thanks for pointing me to suitable stuff. busy_lizzie  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Vortex on July 30, 2010, 22:54:40
You could try http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/ (http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/) or http://www.bbwear.co.uk/ (http://www.bbwear.co.uk/).
You might also find it useful to join http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php (http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/index.php).
are you on that forum, Vortex?
Yes - Same user name
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 31, 2010, 19:57:15
I use yellow marigolds from Tesco's. they last a while, are thin enough to retain some sensitivity, and are cheap enough to throw away as soon as they get too sticky with propolis or get torn. They stop a lot of stings, the odd one that gets through is only a pinprick, and I rarely get stung anywhere else. My bees are good-tempered and don't even try to get in through the hole in my veil.

It's well worth joining http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/irishbeekeeping/
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on September 01, 2010, 12:21:40
today in the back garden[attachment=1]
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: a.buaras on October 16, 2010, 13:47:21
Hi to Allotmenteers & beekeepers

I belatedly found this 2008 lecture by Dennis van Engelsdorp,  he's an Acting State Apiarist for Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture, studying colony collapse disorder, his lecture was called  A Plea for Bees (http://www.ted.com/talks/dennis_vanengelsdorp_a_plea_for_bees.html)

I'm sure most of you already know what about what he's saying....but I liked his enthusiasm and passion about beekeeping....


Enjoy!



Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gp.girl on November 26, 2010, 17:52:22
Got a potentual colony but how to get it in a hive?

Currently in a old metal dustbin..... ??? Seems to be viable and active.

Has anyone tried building a hive out of straw or other materials?

Also can I keep it in the front garden or can the neighbours object?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on November 26, 2010, 20:02:33
Did only just got colony.. :o..at this time of the year :o?
I would leave them be for now..they will not survive the move while weather is so cold. What you can do though..if possible..provide them some food. If there is anyway putting block of bakers fondant just above the winter cluster that would be good. Wait mild day....give them oxalic acid treatment for mites..put fondant on..close the dustbing and maybe even some sort of quilting on top and leave them be untill later on in spring. If they survive the winter then you should have good and healthy colony that will take some disturbance..you can then cut the combs out and 'drop' it all on proper hive and let them settle in new home.
There is always problems with bees and neigbours when hives are in open position..even if your bees are well behaved. And not only that..there is many thieves about..really..and there is kids that will see hive as "bit of entertainmet" and they want to do some "target practise" with stones etc. So I would never ever recommend putting hive where they are easily accessable for anybody. Even if your bees are not quilty for attacking anybody..they/you get blamed for anykind of sting..bees, wasps,,,other thing is..how big is your front garden? If it is really large...maybe you could section part of it and keep it hiden behind bushes or something? Other wise hive would be better out of site. Neighbours can/may object but they cannot stop you...it is other thing if your bees become problem or your neighbours claim they are..then you are required deal with it. It is advisable to prevent all possible trouble.


rri
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on November 26, 2010, 20:14:08
Oh,,and do not close any access holes..as they do need to venture outside during winter..and they will need some ventilation too. So don't wrap them up too tightly.
This time of the year your bees will not be problem..even on front..as long as you prevent anybody accidentally using the bin.
Maybe you could get in touch local beekeeper who can advise you on situ best possible location for your future hive. Moving established colony is troublesome during active season. While 'dormant' it is easy to prepare for their future and your beekeeping becomes easier without unnecessary hassle.
I know I sound like nagging old hag..but...you only need to get it wrong once with your neighbours..and that's it..bees, you and all other beekeepers get bad press and it is hard work to get reputation and public trust bag.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gp.girl on November 26, 2010, 21:08:07
Currently safe in my dad's back garden :) been there for a while  ;)

Will need to be moved in the spring as he wants the dustbin back....it's full of dry twigs for bonfire lighting, oh and bees obviously. Might just leave them there as he's got more space than I have and I can't keep them on the allotment  :(

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on November 26, 2010, 23:24:53
When you are able to move them into a proper hive in the spring remember a move should not be more than 2 yards or less than 2 miles because the bees will always relocate back to their original site. You will thus lose all the foraging bees important for gathering the early pollen and nectar essential for building up the colony.
The important thing now is to ensure that they have enough food to see them through the winter.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 27, 2010, 23:27:15
The question is whether they'll survive the winter. Presumably they're a swarm; some research was done in an area of the States which has a similar climate to ours, and it was found that only 25% of swarms survived their first winter. They'll be on natural comb, which you won't be able to access - don't disturb the nest at all at this time of year - and even if you do manage to give them fondant, they may well not be able to reach it until the weather warms up significantly. If they do come through, get them hived as soon as they're flying freely, but get an experienced beekeeper to do this. If you're in England, go to http://www.britishbee.org.uk/local_associations_about_us.php ; you should find a contact for your area.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gp.girl on November 28, 2010, 18:08:30
The local beekeeper had a look and he thought they were pretty healthy there is comb and honey in the dustbin, knowing my dad he hasn't been down there for some time.  He's going to come back in the spring to move them. They have been getting necter/pollen from ivy in the garden although they won't be active this week! It's going to be difficult to put fondant in the bin as the combs are hanging off the lid. Dad's stopped water getting in and hopefully insulated the bin by now.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 30, 2010, 18:29:27
It's largely a question of whether they've stored enough food to last them, though colonies die out over winter for all sorts of other reasons as well.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 30, 2010, 16:54:07
I sneaked a look in the top of my hives today. Everything's still alive. I'll do my annual treatment with oxalic acid in the next couple of weeks, weather permitting.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: pumpkinlover on December 30, 2010, 17:34:31
Glad to hear that, our beekeeping days are on hold at the moment but it's nice to hear about other people's.  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: jimtheworzel on December 30, 2010, 18:52:59
http://chesneybeeproject.blogspot.com/

blogg by fellow plotter on our site in preston .
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Mr Smith on December 30, 2010, 19:52:37
I've just found a good site for my area 'Leicestershire & Rutland' bee keepers, I'm very interested in the subject although 'I know nothing'  they do training courses for beginners which I hope to get on in the future, looking at the down side of bee keeping have any of you encountered any of the problems with keeping bees?,  I'm a bit concerned because I want to keep my bees in the back garden but have neighbours all around and would not like them to swarm, :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 30, 2010, 21:28:35
if you keep good-natured bees, there should be no problems with a couple of hives in the back garden. BUT, even good-natured bees can become anti-social, so make sure you have another site to move them to (at little or notice time) should they become 'feisty'

regular (weekly) inspections between April and September should lessen the likelihood of swarms.

by the way, you'll need loads of spare equipment for 'artificial swarms / splits/ housing swarms'

definitely join local association, get to know a local beekeeper, have a 'play' with some bees and various hive types if possible, before committing to getting any of your own.

rgds, Tony. (Norfolk Beekeeper)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Mr Smith on December 30, 2010, 21:57:53
if you keep good-natured bees, there should be no problems with a couple of hives in the back garden. BUT, even good-natured bees can become anti-social, so make sure you have another site to move them to (at little or notice time) should they become 'feisty'

regular (weekly) inspections between April and September should lessen the likelihood of swarms.

by the way, you'll need loads of spare equipment for 'artificial swarms / splits/ housing swarms'

definitely join local association, get to know a local beekeeper, have a 'play' with some bees and various hive types if possible, before committing to getting any of your own.

rgds, Tony. (Norfolk Beekeeper)
Tony,  Good advice  before I make a commitment I will certainly look in to the pros and cons, far more to it than I thought, :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 30, 2010, 22:34:39
have a look at www.beekeepingforum.co.uk
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on December 31, 2010, 11:13:16
Our bees are all OK - thank goodness!

Yesterday was the first really mild day for ages (9 or 10C), so we went to check on our four colonies.  The first pair of hives had little piles of dead bees outside, so we took the roof off the first with some trepidation.  No, they were fine, and had consumed much of the fondant that we'd left for them before Christmas.  So we replaced the fondant, and went to the second hive.  To our dismay, the fondant wasn't touched, but it was clear that they were fine and living on their stores.

Same with the second pair of hives, on another site.

So it looks as though the cold weather has killed a few (as you'd expect at this time of year), but the milder weather has enabled the colonies to do some housekeeping, and eject the corpses from the hive.

We came away much relieved!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 31, 2010, 12:25:53
If you've got a recent pile of dead bees outside it's a sign that all's well, as they've had the strength to throw them out! Bees always die over winter, so it's nothing to worry about. I knew mine were going to be OK when I saw a scatter of bee parts lying on the snow.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on December 31, 2010, 18:13:02
why do so many beekeepers give their bees fondant?
is it a sign of bad beekeeping (bees ain't got enough stores to survive through the winter)?
or is it a sign that the brood box ain't big enough for the bees they are keeping?

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on December 31, 2010, 18:43:18
I give fondant for my bees as I find it much easier than providing sugar syryp in autumn....for start with, fondant doesnt go off/ferment like syryp..you can see how much is eaten without needing to disturb the colony, with syryp is it guessing game...fondant saves some time and work too...so many good things...oh and you don't need feeders..just hole in fondant bag and 'splap' it on crownboard.
I don't think it is sign of bad beekeeping at all, quite opposite..our autumns haven't been that good for forage..so bees haven't been able to make enough honey for broodbox or it is not ripened enough...so fondant on top is just like insurance policy..it is there if they should need it.
You really need to have exceptionally large brood if box full of honey should run out this time of the year..but even then we are not always even able to get to our colonies to check in time if they should need more 'grub'.
 
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on December 31, 2010, 19:09:41
A split or a swarm will always need feeding; research in an area of the States with a similar climate to ours showed that swams only had a 25% chance of making it through theri first winter, and you want to give them better odds than that!

When it comes to established colonies, I've got mixed feelings. Our native bees survived here for several thousand years without artificial feeding, so I always feel it shouldn't be necessary, except perhaps occasionally, at the end of a spectacularly awful summer. Since the 1920's, Britain has been deluged with imports of queens, mostly from southern Europe. The result is that there are a lot of bees around that probably couldn't survive without beekeeper assistance. In the 1940's or 50's - I don't have the dates - someone set up colonies of both native and Italian strains, and left them completely alone. After three years, the Italian bees were all dead, while the native colonies were flourishing. I periodically come across colonies that winter with massive clusters which fill much of a broodbox, and I can't imagine them being viable in a series of bad summers. That being said, I don't let them starve. I just requeen them.

I'm not sure about using fondant; it's placed above the broodbox, and in the sort of extremely cold weather we've had in the last couple of winters, this could be enough to cause isolation starvation. I'm by no means convinced that this is as common as people think - I've had colonies dies out showing classic signs of starvation, in contact with stores, in mild weather at the end of winter. But it does happen occasionally that a colony can't move across to food in very cold weather. If I feed syrup, they put it where they want, and I can't help feeling that gives them a better chance.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on January 01, 2011, 12:21:04
We fed syrup in the autumn, and all four colonies were heavy enough to suggest that they'd enough stores to overwinter successfully.  Only one of the four has actually used the fondant, and we haven't tried to open up the box to find out why.  Maybe their stores have crystallised, if it was mainly ivy honey.

This is the end of our second season of beekeeping, so we're by no means expert.  We provided fondant last year, and will continue to do so this year, if for no other reason than our own peace of mind.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 01, 2011, 15:07:43
I don't believe that bees can't winter on crystallised ivy. It's a major late honey source - probably more major in the days when Britain was forested - and bees have subsisted on it for millennia. We live in a damp climate, water condenses inside, and that provides a source of moisture for liquidising it.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 02, 2011, 15:09:08
I don't believe that bees can't winter on crystallised ivy. It's a major late honey source - probably more major in the days when Britain was forested - and bees have subsisted on it for millennia. We live in a damp climate, water condenses inside, and that provides a source of moisture for liquidising it.

I agree Robert !!

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on January 02, 2011, 16:44:58
Yes I agree too....but....now that many of us use mesh floors..condenced water  inside of the hive is not there anymore..or is less..and to liquify hard chrystalized honey more water is needed..
Perhaps 'modern tecnology' haven't done us favours in that way ::)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 02, 2011, 17:47:14
my hives have solid floors, no insulation, bees seem to cope well.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 02, 2011, 17:52:21
I put mine on mesh floors years ago, and found that chalkbrood - a very minor problem with that strain - vanished entirely, as did mould on combs. I've been a fan ever since.

Bees used to be found characteristically in hollow trees, surrounded by rotten wood which would soak up condensation, and they survived. Maybe the water they produce metabolically gives them enough to cope with ivy. Whatever, I don't believe they couldn't manage! Maybe southern European strains would have more problems, I don't know.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 02, 2011, 17:54:57
but I'm a lot further 'darn sarf', Robert.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 02, 2011, 18:49:31
I'm not sure where Gorleston is, but I bet you get lots of ivy, and the odd hard winter! It's often our damp summers which make life hard for bees, when they can't build up stores. Ivy might often be all they have.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 02, 2011, 19:03:36
I'm not sure where Gorleston is,
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Great+Yarmouth,+Norfolk+NR31+7DF,+United+Kingdom&ll=52.569256,1.684341&spn=0.110596,0.264702&t=h&z=12

yep, loads of ivy!!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 02, 2011, 19:37:47
You're no further south than I am!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 02, 2011, 19:44:35
You're no further south than I am!

true, but being a lot further east we get a lot less rainfall, and the proximity of the sea has a 'calming' influence on local climate.

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on January 13, 2011, 19:26:13
is everyone treating with OA this winter? is it becoming a routine that beeks do each and every year? My bees were given apiguard in end august / september, and I've decided not to treat with OA this winter. No need for fondant, I fed them whilst treating, and we have a late crop of Ivy in these parts (garden backs onto old cemetery)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on January 14, 2011, 10:36:11
I use both. Oxalic is my standard treatment, but I have apiguard in reserve in case of problems, and use it when I acquire a colony or a swarm during the active season. I find it helpful to open hives now and then in winter, and monitor things like cluster size and the amount of winter broodraising. It makes sense to use oxalic when I'm opening them anyway.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 04, 2011, 20:38:12
If any one would find this of use. my web site with a map on with as many bee shops I can find. useful for finding your local.

http://plantsalive.webs.com/beekeepingshopsuk.htm (http://plantsalive.webs.com/beekeepingshopsuk.htm)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on February 05, 2011, 10:32:15
WARNING!....go and check your hives!..wind is been blowing some hive roofs off from mine :o :o...and they did have heavy old fashion solid brick on top :o :o
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 05, 2011, 18:19:12
If they're in a windy spot, definitely check them. The sign on my church wall (Ladywood Methodist Church etc) was blown down and smashed last night.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 05, 2011, 19:43:40
If any one would find this of use. my web site with a map on with as many bee shops I can find. useful for finding your local.

http://plantsalive.webs.com/beekeepingshopsuk.htm (http://plantsalive.webs.com/beekeepingshopsuk.htm)


you on the beekeepingforum?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 05, 2011, 22:09:38
you on the beekeepingforum?

Yes I am, blackbrood is my tag on there. In fact you sent me some basic exam study notes which I very much appreciate.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 06, 2011, 08:15:00
you on the beekeepingforum?

Yes I am, blackbrood is my tag on there. In fact you sent me some basic exam study notes which I very much appreciate.

Oh, it's you!! LOL


glad to help!!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 06, 2011, 08:22:08
it is a small world online  ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 06, 2011, 08:26:50
it is a small world online  ;)

innit!! ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on February 06, 2011, 23:31:59
Does anyone know what type of beehive Carol Klein was given in her current series?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 06, 2011, 23:56:31
What did it look like?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 07, 2011, 19:55:37
Does anyone know what type of beehive Carol Klein was given in her current series?


a Kenyan top bar hive more commonly referred to as a top bar hive or TBH

CjB


(http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuG3G5I9SFZBb_szV2gVD9RV4PYlsPYRkg0c91aEkVukF15Mob)


(http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRWCtEZ88NNEs2W4s2XErUip4_fe6WX-vAo8fyw285y1hGURpjC)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on February 07, 2011, 23:25:50
Thank you. It is not a very common hive,  is it, the nearest I have seen to it is in Poland but they use wired foundation in the frames.
As there did not appear to be any foundation provided, how do they extract the honey? Do they melt the combs to obtain the honey, or is cut comb the main product?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 08, 2011, 07:38:57
Thank you. It is not a very common hive,  is it, the nearest I have seen to it is in Poland but they use wired foundation in the frames.
As there did not appear to be any foundation provided, how do they extract the honey? Do they melt the combs to obtain the honey, or is cut comb the main product?

it is a lot more common than you might imagine. If you live near Leeds I could show you one in our association apiary, they are seen as a low cost way of getting in to bee keeping as they are quite easy to make at home. They do not have frames or foundation. They have top bars hence the name. pieces of wood across the top and the bees build their comb down. they tend to have starter strips on the bars so the comb is built in the right place for the bee keeper although these can be very small strips. As for honey removal, the whole comb tends to be crushed to separate the honey and wax or the comb can be cut as you say.

Are you thinking of indulging? if so good luck

CjB
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 08, 2011, 08:29:57
Does anyone know what type of beehive Carol Klein was given in her current series?


a Kenyan top bar hive more commonly referred to as a top bar hive or TBH

CjB


(http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuG3G5I9SFZBb_szV2gVD9RV4PYlsPYRkg0c91aEkVukF15Mob)


(http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRWCtEZ88NNEs2W4s2XErUip4_fe6WX-vAo8fyw285y1hGURpjC)


also commonly known as  Swarm Generator Hive !
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: irnhed on February 08, 2011, 09:09:01
@tonybloke - that's really funny  :)

I love the idea of TBHs, but I just can't get my head around how you (don't) handle expansions.

I guess, if you *know* the tendencies of your bees, and how big the colony will get, you can risk it.

However, given all of the unknowns (weather, food, etc.) it seems like a bit of a roll of the dice.

Extracting the honey is also interesting...  I've read that you have to get two jars with a cloth filter between them, mash up the comb into the top one, then let gravity take the honey down, and leave the wax above the filter.

My friend who shares our apiary was given one as a gift, and I'm itching for him to get it set up and populated so that I can have a peek.

FYI - I run two WBC hives.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Nigel B on February 08, 2011, 10:30:59
Can the posters on this thread recommend the best hive for a newbie?
It's all very confusing. The more I read, the more confusing it becomes.

We're moving soon(ish) and the new garden is very long and not overlooked, so it seems like it might be just right...

I'm going to sign up for a course, but I would like to have a hive ready and 'weathering', if that makes sense...?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: irnhed on February 08, 2011, 15:05:26
@Nigel B - Well, as with most beekeeping questions, you're going to find a wide variety of opinions.

I'm just entering my 3rd year as a beek, so please take this with a pinch of salt.

Personally, I have WBC hives - but that is purely because I was given one by a family friend, then came across another two on ebay.  They look lovely (not that I get to look at them everyday), and seem to be working fine. 

You can read all kinds of stuff about about how they're good 'cos they're 'double walled', as the outer lifts are separate to the super & brood boxes inside, so they're more insulated - but then take longer to warm up in the sun.  Swings & roundabouts.

If I had to recommend, I'd suggest going with National hives.  They're simpler than WBCs as they're single walled.  The boxes that the frames rest in, are what you see from the outside. 

My friend runs Nationals, and is very happy with them.

However, some people may say that Nationals & WBCs are too small.  They take 'British Standard' frames, whilst some keepers prefer either deeper frames in Nationals or WBCs - or, going for much bigger hives, like Commercials.

My local BEEK association uses Commercials, and the branch apiary manager swears by them.

However, bigger hives also mean more weight - which can be a factor if you're shifting honey-filled Supers around at the end of the season.

You may find you can get hold of some Nationals second hand for knock down prices - but you should be aware that it may be 'cos the keeper has decided that they're too small, and are moving up...

In most hives (excluding Top Bars, and some others) you expand in sections, by adding Supers on to for honey storage (hopefully) - but you can also add an extra brood box, or a super to act as a 'brood and a half', so you can expand National brood space if you have a particularly good queen laying.

To summarise, I'd suggest Nationals to start with.

However, your best bet it to contact / join the local beekeeping association.  You'll be able to talk to them about what they do, and what they recommend.  They may even have a store of 2nd hand kit that you can buy from them.

Of course, if you're handy with tools, you can easily get hold of plans and build your own.  Just be very, very careful with the inside measurements   :)

That's hives covered.  Next thing to think about are which frames you'll use...  Hoffman self-spacers?   ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 08, 2011, 16:38:18
Nationals are the ones to go for; they're fairly standard, most people use them, they're more saleable, and they're a lot less fiddling about that WBC's. I use modified ones with deeper broodboxes, but that's an easy conversion. When I was given a couple of hives two years ago, they were the same type so everything was interchangeable. There's one minor drawback; they're bottom beespace. That means the top bars are on a level with the edge of the box, and they tend to stick to the box above. It's very easy to pull a couple of combs out of the box underneath as you life a box, and the bees hate it! The trick is to twist the box before you lift.

You can make them with top bee space, which drops the top bars a quarter of an inch or so, and solves the problem. The difficulty with that is that your equipment won't be interchangeable with anyone else's!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 08, 2011, 20:25:05
well, you know the adage, 'ask three beekeepers, get 4 answers'

I'd recommend 'commercial' broods, with 'national' supers, all converted to 'top bee-space'
LOL
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on February 08, 2011, 22:39:46
Can the posters on this thread recommend the best hive for a newbie?

I would suggest

Join a local association and ....
Find out what hive is popular in your area so then you can get spares parts easier and cheaper and ...
Find out what frames the bees that you are going to buy are coming on and buy a hive to match

I use nationals because every one around me uses nationals, I can get parts quickly and cheaply, I have the plans for nationals to make my own, my bees came on national frames.

Speak to some one at the local association and they will tell you what is popular locally, they will be able to suggest a seller/s of bees and then speak to them about what frames they would come on.

Hope this helps

BB
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: THE DOG on February 09, 2011, 21:46:50
I use Nationals myself, this is my second year as a beek and im happy with them (Although i am thinking of changing to the bigger 14x12,s
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Nigel B on February 09, 2011, 23:33:03
Thanks for your helpful replies everyone. :)
That's given me plenty to mull over for now..... But you can bet I'll be back to pick your collective brains again... ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 10, 2011, 19:09:12
Please do. Have a look at what other beekeepers in your area are doing. If you find a lot of them are keeping bees on 'hive and a half', meaning a broodbox plus a super for the brood, it's worth thinking about 14x12's, as they're a lot bigger than single broodboxes, and easier to handle.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on February 10, 2011, 22:57:26
Please do. Have a look at what other beekeepers in your area are doing. If you find a lot of them are keeping bees on 'hive and a half', meaning a broodbox plus a super for the brood, it's worth thinking about 14x12's, as they're a lot bigger than single broodboxes, and easier to handle.
please don't try the brood and a half sketch, or are you wanting to join the 'lets make beekeeping as difficult as possible' brigade?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 11, 2011, 00:16:44
I tried it once, and hated it. If there's one thing that upsets bees, it's having the broodnest torn in two. Inspections took about three times as long as they ought to. With 12x14's, the frames are a little clumsy to handle, but an inspection is almost as simple as with a standard National box.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on February 12, 2011, 20:08:45
I tried it once, and hated it. If there's one thing that upsets bees, it's having the broodnest torn in two. Inspections took about three times as long as they ought to. With 12x14's, the frames are a little clumsy to handle, but an inspection is almost as simple as with a standard National box.

Hear, hear!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 11, 2011, 18:48:55
How are everyone's bees doing? I found quite a bit of drone brood the other day; in another three or four weeks I'll have to start thinking about swarms. The more the merrier, as long as they don't come from my hives!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 12, 2011, 08:18:48
super on one colony, and put a Q/E between the double brood colony. a few drones have over-wintered in the biggest ( double brood) colony, but plenty of sealed drone cells in all  colonies. reports of swarms coming in from all over the country!! ( first one I heard of was in Wales)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 12, 2011, 19:17:07
I had two swarms move in last year; a repetition would be welcome! The smell of old broodcomb seems to bring them from all around.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping. Tale of a Drowned Bee
Post by: camo_lady on April 13, 2011, 12:52:51
Hiya,
We're not bee-keepers: but this year we have LOADS of bees again both on the allotment and in the gardens.  So far I've spotted 4 species - and a goodly amount of each. 

While setting up the seedling greenhouse I spotted what looked like a drowned bee (orange bottom) in the water in a bucket.  It wasn't moving, the weather was cold and I thought the poor thing was a 'goner'. So, did nothing.

The following day, I emptied out the bucket and was shocked to see the bee start to revive!  Over the course of two hours, it dragged itself up an onion leaf, dried itself, cleaned itself before slowly pottering (walking) over to the rosemary bush where it again, climbed up the bush.  At the end of the third hour, it was strong enough to fly away in the now warm sunshine, straight to the cherry tree blossom. :o

Nature is amazing - and that's the LAST time I'll assume a bee is dead if it's floating in water! (It was KNOWN to have been in there for 24 hours minimum!)

Camo
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: lasder99 on April 27, 2011, 01:33:42
How are everyone's bees doing? I found quite a bit of drone brood the other day; in another three or four weeks I'll have to start thinking about swarms. The more the merrier, as long as they don't come from my hives!
Well the first Q cells I saw were April 14th, over half my 15 hives have tried to propegate -  my strongest hive had the third super added on Good Friday...and theres no rape near me but I have 3 hives in a pear orchard and it was one of them.
Only problem is it's been sold to developers( unknown to me) and suddenly I've been given 2 weeks to leave. I have to vacate this week  :-[

anybody know of an available site for an apiary in South Bucks ?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on April 27, 2011, 07:24:09
How are everyone's bees doing? I found quite a bit of drone brood the other day; in another three or four weeks I'll have to start thinking about swarms. The more the merrier, as long as they don't come from my hives!
Well the first Q cells I saw were April 14th, over half my 15 hives have tried to propegate -  my strongest hive had the third super added on Good Friday...and theres no rape near me but I have 3 hives in a pear orchard and it was one of them.
Only problem is it's been sold to developers( unknown to me) and suddenly I've been given 2 weeks to leave. I have to vacate this week  :-[

anybody know of an available site for an apiary in South Bucks ?


have you asked on the beekeepingforum ?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 27, 2011, 18:09:20
Sad situation, but it does happen. I'm a bit far away to help, unfortunately.

Best to raise queens off the hives that don't make swarm cells! I think we're in for a lot of swarming this year, if the weather stays as it is.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Mr Smith on April 27, 2011, 18:48:06
Rather than start another thread, but could one of our resident Bee keepers (Robert or Tony) tell me what this is all about, watching the Horticultural Channel today a chap on there released a small colony of Bumble Bees, 10 in all which lived in what he called a small Lodge, apparently you can send for them by post and they  don't swarm, is this a good option to have on the lotty to pollinate fruit etc rather than a Bee Hive,
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 27, 2011, 21:42:04
They're more important for fruit pollination than honeybees under most circumstances, as they get moving earlier in the year, and fly at lower temperatures. They've been used for greenhouse pollination for a long time, but this is the first time I've heard of their being used on allotments. I'd have thought that most sites would have sufficient bumbles around that you could set up suitable nest sites and encourage the ones you've got. If you do buy any, make sure they're a native species.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on April 27, 2011, 22:29:08
I gave a friend a small swarm last year. It came through the winter OK and he informed me today that it swarmed 4 days ago. Luckily he caught it and hived it. He is now worried that he has removed too many/all of the queen cells from the original stock.

My four stocks are all OK at the moment, quite a few drone cells but so far no queen cells. They have been collecting lots of nectar (dandelion ?) which has produced a superb yellow coloured honey which I cannot extract because it is in the brood chamber.
I need to try and produce queens from one stock to requeen the others because although they are very hard workers they can be a bit aggressive at times but this can be handled. However, one stock has the awful trait of being followers. I was given two stocks last year by a local beekeeper who was retiring and united them into one.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 28, 2011, 23:37:24
Definitely get rid of those followers! I'd be worried about the drones propagating the trait.

I spotted bees investigating my empty hives this afternoon. It could be a sign of an impending swarm from somewhere.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 05, 2011, 17:23:16
I passed by my plot this morning, and there were masses of bees round a couple of the empty hives, so I thought the swarm was probably due. Sure enough, I went back after lunch, and they were in residence, having given my neighbour a fright as they went over.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 05, 2011, 23:51:39
I passed by my plot this morning, and there were masses of bees round a couple of the empty hives, so I thought the swarm was probably due. Sure enough, I went back after lunch, and they were in residence, having given my neighbour a fright as they went over.
good news Robert!
collected a decent sized swarm yesterday evening,  hived them this morning on my allotment.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gp.girl on May 06, 2011, 20:50:46
Dad's hive made it though the winter, its a small colony which has loads of honey in it. Very docile bees, even the chap who moved them was surprised. Now out of the dustbin into a proper hive. Just have to decide wether or not to buy the hive or let the bee keeper move them.......
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 06, 2011, 22:42:38
Depends whether you want to keep bees or not!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: gp.girl on May 07, 2011, 20:42:21
Depends whether you want to keep bees or not!

Having to balance want (no trouble there) with need, afford, justify, space.....oh bugger it will ask dad to keep them, so want them up the allotment but no animals allowed  >:(
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 08, 2011, 08:34:22
Depends whether you want to keep bees or not!

Having to balance want (no trouble there) with need, afford, justify, space.....oh bugger it will ask dad to keep them, so want them up the allotment but no animals allowed  >:(

Bees ain't animals!
if you have the necessary insurance, ask your allotment secretary for permission?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 08, 2011, 19:26:19
Join the local Beekeepers' Association, if you aren't already a member, and that should get you insurance. I find it's usually best to keep them out of sight and say as little as possible. If you're on an open site, it's harder to make them invisible, but you never know till you ask. Sometimes people keep them inside a shed with a hole cut in the wall for access.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on May 22, 2011, 23:29:47
How far will a swarm go to find a new home? As far as I know only one beekeeper lives within two miles of me (half a mile in fact) and his bees are all dark. However, a swarm took up residence in a spare hive yesterday at 1.15 and they all have a yellow stripe, so where did they come from ? It was probably a cast because it was certainly not a primev swarm.
Why do bees usually swarm between 1.00 and 2.00 in the afternoon? 
And today I was called out to get two swarms hanging very conveniently about three feet apart on a bush. I guess they were both second/third casts as they were only about as big as a pint jug so they went into the same box and hopefully the queens will fight it out and leave me with a half decent colony which should build up quite well by the end of the summer.
At least now I will have two new queens but the big problem is that I will have no idea how good they will be.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 22, 2011, 23:50:50
You won't know until you've had them for twelve months. Swarms can travel long distances, hanging in trees etc on the way, but I imagine they fly a fair distance in their initial search for a home. Natural colonies tend to be very well-spaced. Two miles seems quite plausible, especially given the present shortage of natural nest sites, with hollow trees being felled, and lofts sealed.

I doubt whether it's a cast this early in the season, since there hasn't been enough time for a colony to produce a prime swarm followed by a second. How many frames does it cover? They don't look much when they first move in, but as the queen starts to lay, they spread out and a swarm that occupies three frames when it moves in will probably end up covering six. If I'm right and it's a prime swarm, the queen will start to lay within a couple of days, while casts usually fly with virgins which can take three or four weeks.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 23, 2011, 20:15:44
there's been loads of swarms and casts here, bees don't need big numbers to have a cast, just need 2 queen cells left after the prime swarm for it to occur.

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 23, 2011, 23:22:10
Those are really swarmy bees! I've only encountered the sort that swarm every time they have a cell once; I don't want to meet them again! Round here, it's not unusual to find two queens in a hive; sisters or mother and daughter.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 24, 2011, 17:19:40
I found 2 queens in a colony that had swarmed last week. It was a split from a colony that had swarmed, I left 3 cells to see what happened, result, swarm with 1st to hatch, leaving 2 unmated sisters to fight it out.

lesson, ignore the books, leave only 1 QC in future!!

I caught and hived the small swarm in a nuc box with a frame of stores (pollen + honey)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Angel on May 24, 2011, 17:26:39
Tony, could you link me a good website to look up some information on bees please.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on May 25, 2011, 18:55:27
Robert

The first swarm I heard about in this part of S E Wales was the end of April. I have caught and hived prime swarms and they have been at least the size of a football and weigh surprisingly heavy. These ones were sinificantly smaller and as I said two were only big enough to fit into a pint pot. Very small yes, but if the parent stock was allowed to swarm without control, every time a queen emerged from a swarm queen cell and there was more than one queen in a hive then a swarm would emerge no matter how big it was. Some colonies can swarm themseves to death. 
The occurrence of the original queen and a daughter queen in the same hive could be the result of supercedure.The two will live together for a while until the old queen is killed because she is not performing as the bees would like.
My approach is to try and remove every queen cell, particularly those around the edge of the frame and clustered togethee to prevent swarming and make a nuc if possible. I would leave a single queen cell in the centre of the frame because there is a good chance that it is a supercedure cell. 
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: shirlton on May 25, 2011, 19:03:23
Tony, could you link me a good website to look up some information on bees please.
I would like to read up on bees too Tony if you know of a good site. We have 5 hives in an enclosure opposite our plot .I am so frightened of them when they swarm as they have done 4 times already this year  whilst we were working on our plot. Even more so since Tony has been stung. Perhaps if I knew more about them I wouldn't be so scared.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 25, 2011, 20:52:07
I always leave a colony with several cells, and I've never had secondary swarms as a result. Shows how much bees vary from one area to the next!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on May 26, 2011, 11:24:56
Tony, could you link me a good website to look up some information on bees please.
I would like to read up on bees too Tony if you know of a good site. We have 5 hives in an enclosure opposite our plot .I am so frightened of them when they swarm as they have done 4 times already this year  whilst we were working on our plot. Even more so since Tony has been stung. Perhaps if I knew more about them I wouldn't be so scared.



have a look on here
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: shirlton on May 26, 2011, 12:35:35
Thanks Tony
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 26, 2011, 12:53:49
Someone needs to take a look at those hives, Shirlton; there's no need for it. They should be checked regularly at this time of year - I look through mine once a week - and if there are swarm cells developing, action should be taken. There's a possibility that swarms are moving in, rather than out; I get them moving into empty hives every year. Probably, however, it's bad beekeeping.

Traditional methods of swarm control don't always work, and not everyone's up on the good methods. It's easy to breed for bees which don't often swarm, though there's no such thing as a non-swarming bee, and this year is ideal for them weather-wise. Most beekeepers, unfortunately, know little or nothing about breeding. I think myself that the answer is beekeeper education.

I've put a suitably anonymised note of this in the next Birmingham Beekeepers' Newsletter, as an awful example of what shouldn't be happening!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Hobbitlin on May 26, 2011, 18:33:15
I am one of the 3 beekeepers on the site to which you are referring, Robert. We are very attentive to the needs of the bees and do indeed check them every week. Julian Routh has inspected our bees and states they are very well cared for. As you stated, this year has been exceptionally suitable for swarming. Some of the swarms we have had on site, would appear to be bees from local hives that are looking for homes, rather than from our hives. We have 4 hives and a nuc which was an artificial swarm, which we are keeping as back up in case the new queen isn't mated properly, due to recent weather. All occurances of swarms being reported on site, were dealt with calmly and promptly and passed on to other local beekeepers through our BKA. If you feel there is anything more you can suggest, we would welcome this.

Although it's comendable that you are concerned for the welfare of the bees, putting it in your newsletter isn't particularly helpful without the full facts. I hope this goes some way towards filling in the gaps.

As you are local, perhaps you'd like to visit us to see our bees for yourself? You would be most welcome.

Lin  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 26, 2011, 19:05:50
Glad to hear from you! How many swarms have moved in? I know it's scary for the neighbours, but four, if that's correct, seems like an awful lot. Were they hanging in the bushes or moving into empty hives?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Hobbitlin on May 26, 2011, 19:15:51
Hanging around in bushes mostly, Robert. We passed on 3 of them to local beeks but the 4th one absconded from the lovely nuc we'd put them in. Obviously they had spotted somewhere they thought was much nicer in the direction of Witton Lakes.  ;)

Are you part of Birmingham BKA in Highbury Park, by any chance? I've seen the apiary there whilst doing some voluntary work with the Park Ranger Service. It's a nice setting.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 26, 2011, 21:23:52
My hives are just behind the Botanical Gardens. It's interesting that swarms do sometimes hang around apiaries without having anywhere to move in. I usually find that they stake out an empty hive for a week or two, then just take it over. A nuc box could be a bit small for a swarm that's obviously programmed to look for somewhere big enough for a permanent residence. I'd have been inclined to give it a frame of brood if I didn't have a hive empty.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Hobbitlin on May 29, 2011, 10:08:17
I'd have been inclined to give it a frame of brood if I didn't have a hive empty.

Yes we did that but they still left.  ???  But then again, there's nowt so contrary as bees!  ;)

What a lovely place to have hives. I bet there must be very varied forage in the Botanical Gardens? We have our apiary in the Community Garden part of our allotments. Several plot holders have said how pleased they are with the pollination of their fruit trees this year, thanks to the bees.

We had our first batch of allotment honey which sold like hotcakes at our allotment Spring Fair last weekend. We had a taster jar which was also gone by the end of the day. I've never been so busy. We had an observation hive as well, so that was a great opportunity to educate plotholders and public alike about honey bees. The queen was very obliging and did some beautiful demonstraions of egg-laying.  :)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 29, 2011, 18:47:34
There must be all sorts of honey plants around in small quantities, but the great majority of my honey comes from bramble in most years. Occasionally it's tinged with privet, but while there's masses of golden rod and willowherb, I've never had a noticeable flow off either. There's masses of ivy, which is good for wintering.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Toadspawn on June 14, 2011, 23:34:44
Bees in walls

I was called out to a house where bees took up residence inside the wall of an old stone built shed about 10 days ago and are quite active. They are gaining access through a hole underneath the wooden lintel over an old filled in doorway. The owners were happy to leave them there until he was stung. He was knocking nails into the wall about 6 feet from the entrance hole and naturally the bees were a bit upset. They don't want the bees there now but they do not want them killed. I have been asked to remove them.
It has been suggested that I block the hole using something like a bee escape so that the flying bees can leave the nest but cannot return. I was told to put a brood box or nucleus box with foundation or drawn out comb immediately next to the 'bee escape' but at right angles to it. The bees, unable to get into their 'home' will then go into the bait box. After about 2-3 weeks there will be relatively few bees left in the wall and the queen will probably have stopped laying because there are no nurse bees and no food and she will leave the wall and move into the box in search of food.
Apparently if I can put a frame of brood in the bait box this will encourage the bees to use it and stay there until the queen appears. When I know she is in there because eggs will appear then it can be moved to a new site.
The entrance hole is about 10' from the ground but the owner has some scaffolding which can be errected to support the bait box.
Any thoughts? Has anyone tried this? Will it work?
 
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 16, 2011, 18:05:36
I haven't used it myself, but apparently it gets the workers out quite efficiently. Get some 1/8 inch mesh - the size that's used for open mesh floors, vetilation in nuc boxes, etc - and make a cone out of it. Fix it up over the entrance hole, and seal round the base so the bees can't find their way back in.

I don't think the queen will come out, and if you give them a frame of brood they'll attempt to make a new one. The larva may not be very well fed under the circumstances, so you'd be better off putting a nuc there with a laying queen. The bees coming out of the wall will soon move in with them.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 24, 2011, 17:42:56
Yesterday I spotted a couple of bees investigating an empty hive, today there were a dozen or so checking out a couple of them. I'm hopeful, maybe there's a nother swarm on the way.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on June 24, 2011, 19:08:41
Yesterday I spotted a couple of bees investigating an empty hive, today there were a dozen or so checking out a couple of them. I'm hopeful, maybe there's a nother swarm on the way.

I thought you didn't like 'swarmy' bees?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 24, 2011, 20:09:48
I don't, but they're not necessarily going to be swarmier than others. If they are, they just get requeened. Meanwhile, bees are always welcome!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 25, 2011, 17:08:22
So many bees round one of the hives this afternoon it was hard to believe the bees weren't in there, but they hadn't arrived when I left.

I give every queen a clean slate when the colony arrives; they may, for instance, have swarmed due to lack of space, and I could end up killing a good queen. Once arrived, I always replace the queen from a hive which tries to swarm. It's not hard to discourage, though obviously there's no such thing as a strain which never swarms.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on July 09, 2011, 17:15:03
collected another swarm today! ( 7 this year)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: jimtheworzel on July 09, 2011, 17:59:05
http://www.chesneybeeproject.blogspot.com/
the bove was written by a friend from the allotment.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 11, 2011, 15:02:13
Well its been swarmy year here too...I've got swarms coming visiting from all directions.. ::)
But..has anybody experienced a swarm that is trying to take over another hive..? :o
I've just been to see my bees after having a call from the 'landlord' that there is dead bees all over..
And indeed..there was swarm hanging underneath the hive floor and and small cluster on another and such a buzz on front of the both entrances.
No..not my bees has been swarmed..there is two hives and both was under attack..both have bees dangling on ..
So only action I could take is reduce the entrance and let them sort it out for now..
As soon as I did that things did calm down a lot..

Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 12, 2011, 21:01:34
I've heard of Africanised bees doing this, but they're a tropical type which wouldn't last five minutes in our winters.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 16, 2011, 20:10:33
I had a visit from the bee inspector yesterday; they're trying to get round everyone, and find out where everyone's hives are, so that if there's an outbreak of disease they'll be in a position to check them all. He said they think only about 50% of beekeepers have registered on Beebase (https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm). Has everyone signed up?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 17, 2011, 11:34:33
I don't think they will be getting good registration figures for few years yet..there is still a lot of 'mature' beekeepers that are not using or have computers.
Once the non-surfing, beekeeping generation is gone, numbers will go up. ::)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 17, 2011, 11:46:27
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I've heard of Africanised bees doing this, but they're a tropical type which wouldn't last five minutes in our wintersYes..I've heard that too..but our bees?..never heard or seen before ???
I suspect it might have something to do with weather change..(yes..blame the weather for that too  ;D)..we've had sunny dry weather for ages..and propably the swarm/s were getting desperate to find shelter for on coming rain..who knows how many days they've been 'dangling' around already..I've certainly been busy catching swarms and getting calls from our local area. What I know of, there is quite few beekeepers/hives in less than 1 mile radius...and I'm not suprised there is few more of non-registered sort too  ::)
Anyway..been to see the hives that WAS under the attack..and reduction of the entrances did seem to do the trick...but there must be 'millions' of dead bees all over the floor..swarm clumps never left and there is now two dead swarms..they've finally perished..
I suppose I could have tried to collect them ..but as there was so much flying going on and the place where the hives are..leaving them to be was safest and easiest solution. If they've been good size, main swarms..then they would have been worth of the trouble.
..these hives are on top of shopping centre roof and access is trough offices.. ;D..so I do have to think carefully if and when to try to take bees trough indoor spaces.. :-X ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on July 20, 2011, 18:37:45
I had a visit from the bee inspector yesterday; they're trying to get round everyone, and find out where everyone's hives are, so that if there's an outbreak of disease they'll be in a position to check them all. He said they think only about 50% of beekeepers have registered on Beebase (https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm). Has everyone signed up?

yep, and had a visit from the seasonal bee inspector ( v.nice lady)  My bees were given a clean bill of health!! yay!!
she visited 3 other keepers hives whilst she was up this way, and recorded their details for inclusion on the fera site.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on September 20, 2011, 18:16:00
Nobody's likely to be buying nucs this late in the year, but I've just been told that someone - I don't know who - is selling nucs infected with brood disease. Next year, don't buy from any commercial seller unless they're certified free from disease, in writing.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tonybloke on September 20, 2011, 22:28:08
Nobody's likely to be buying nucs this late in the year, but I've just been told that someone - I don't know who - is selling nucs infected with brood disease. Next year, don't buy from any commercial seller unless they're certified free from disease, in writing.
good advice, Robert
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on May 25, 2012, 22:07:42
I was collecting a swarm just other day from our local shopping centre roof ledge..and somebody spotted me from offices higher up. This photo of me in 'action' was sent to me this morning... ;D Thanks for the modern mobile phones and their super cameras ::) Girl can't be alone even on roof top anymore without being spotted... ::)

And before anybody mention about the unapropriate footwear for the job..yes..not a bee proof shoes. At first I wasn't even wearing suit when I was scooping the bees into nuc..but after while I though I better put it on..just in case.
Pheww..it was hot up there.. ::) And yes..no cloves neither. Those bees were really nice and calm. ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: shirlton on May 26, 2012, 07:02:14
You look very cute in your beekeepers outfit  ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on May 26, 2012, 08:33:58
You look very cute in your beekeepers outfit  ;D

Cute?..not the word I would have thought..but thanks.. ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 27, 2012, 20:52:51
Bees have staked out one of my empty hives, so I'm hoping a swarm will move in shortly!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on June 09, 2012, 18:11:59
It has been a bit quiet on the swarm front this year, it does look like you had fun picking that one up though. The weather is not helping one bit. so far this year I have had 3 swarms. One I picked up from a house and the other two took up residence in my two apiaries (they weren't mine either which was good). One each. This is a blog entry of an inspection of a colony I have done today. The colony was a swarm I picked up last year and it is doing quite well. Click here (http://plantsalive.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/it-makes-you-sweat.html) . The swarm last year just took up residence in an empty box.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: sunloving on June 17, 2012, 07:42:57
Wow goodlife, love the action picture.

I went to my first Lancaster beekeepers day yesterday after joining up this week. -All about black bees- I'm really excited about learning at their training apiary and setting up a few hives of my own next season.

So will be stalking this thread to find out how you guys are doing.
x sunloving
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on June 17, 2012, 08:33:15
Yayyy.. ;D Now you are getting into bees too.. ;D I'm much more interested of bees than I'm about honey...just necessary 'evil' to deal with, but bees I could stare at hours.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on June 17, 2012, 08:40:34
Something I spotted other day about bees that I found very interesting..
that particular day wasn't too bad day and we had sunny spells  8) and I had pile of wilting rhubarb stalk and leaves that I tiedied out of plants..they had loads of honeybees all over them and the bees were licking all of those wilting plant parts.
Now I'm wondering if the bees were resulting desperate measures with some plant sugars that possibly was on surface.. ???...or would they have used moisture off from the leaves (looked quite dry to me).. ???..or perharps they were taking some oxalic acid and treating themselves against 'bugs'.. ??? My hive at the lottie is ok with 'food' so they are not hungry..though it could be somebody's else bees too.... ???
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 17, 2012, 17:43:00
Bees do use water, and often it's dew, or filthy water from somewhere. They seem to be atracted by water with salts dissolved in it, but I doubt whether they'd target oxalic!
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Melbourne12 on June 18, 2012, 11:01:18
Only a proportion of the acids in rhubarb is oxalic, with malic acid predominant.

I found a paper that suggests that it's the malic acid that's involved in most of the reactions (http://www.jbc.org/content/126/1/43.full.pdf (http://www.jbc.org/content/126/1/43.full.pdf)), not the oxalic or citric.

But the sugar content of rhubarb is tiny, just over 1%, so I'm a bit puzzled by the bees' interest, I must say.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on June 18, 2012, 14:39:33
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so I'm a bit puzzled by the bees' interest, I must say...yes, me too and I've never noticed that behaviour with rhubarb before.. ???
I didn't think there would be much sugars..but then I thought as they were 'wilting'..perharps that would bring 'something' on surface...like 'sweating' some substance.. ::)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: cjb02 on June 18, 2012, 22:36:04
Were there any aphids on the rhubarb ( I have never seen any on mine but who knows) and were they farming the sugary secretion from these? just a thought.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 07, 2012, 20:05:31
Were there any aphids on the rhubarb ( I have never seen any on mine but who knows) and were they farming the sugary secretion from these? just a thought.

Sorry..I only just notice your reply... ::)
No..no aphids..they were just walking along wilted stems and leaves with their tongues out...clearly 'licking' the surface for something.

Changing the subject...I just noticed today that there where masses of honey bees on privet flowers on my hedge..first time ever I've seen privet been 'used'..and we've got lot of privet around here. They must use privet as 'last resort' food ..unless all the other flowers are wet or otherwise unsuitable for forageing at the moment. Blackberry flowers are out too..but there is not that many honey bees on them..mainly bumbles. I wonder if the privet is particularly nectar rich this year with all this rain.. :-\ ???
Nice to notice 'new' things going on.. ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 08, 2012, 17:14:15
Privet seems to be one of those plants which only produces occasionally. There was one year when my bees were all over it. The honey was darker and stronger tasting than normal. Privet honey has a reputation for being nasty, even poisonous, but I found it quite pleasant.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tomatoada on July 08, 2012, 17:28:25
A gentleman on my allotment site has recently bought a hive and some bees.   They only stayed a few days and disappeared.   He has joined the bee society and gone into things so I suppose there is nothing he could have done to stop them.  We are all gutted.   The weather was so bad for the days after they arrived.   Any suggestions please?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 08, 2012, 20:29:06
There is 'rule' for moving bees into new location..you either move them less than 3 feet or you have to move them more than 3 miles.
To explain this..bees very fixed to their nest location and if the hive is moved more than 3 ft..they will get confuced and struggle to find their 'home' and they will be flying around the old hive site for ages.
3 miles is they average flying/foraging radius that they have mapped all the identification features around this area to their nest...move outside this area and they have to map the landscape to the new location again.
If somebody buys new colony...they have to make sure they are moving it outside their old foraging area...or they simply will recognize where they are and will return to their original 'home'...and seller can sell same colony twice.. ::) ;D
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tomatoada on July 09, 2012, 08:33:53
Any advice?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 10, 2012, 09:28:49
Advise as getting them back? or keeping them in situ in first place?

Well..it is adviseable to put feeder on with sugar syrup as soon as possible..ideally straight away..where there is snap they are unlikely to go away.. ;)..the immediate food supply also means that they are able to start building honey comb straight away..without stores they are not able fuel themselves and get home ready for youngsters...and where there is food and even little bit of comb, queen is usually eager to start laying eggs. As soon as queen is happy and started, colony will stay put..few eggs are like magnet for the colony...they WILL look after 'their' off spring as long as there is means to do so.
Hive without food is not any better for the bees than any other 'hole' where swarm settles and few 'perks' may well decide that they want to stay put.
One of the main jobs of beekeeper is to keep check that bees don't run out of food..they can die of starvation in hive during bad weather as they cannot forage food and sometimes bees can leave hive in desperation for finding food and/or better home.
As for getting the bees back... :-\..if he has brought the bees from location that is within bees 3 mile forageing area..he could ask the beekeeper who he had his bees from, if any unwanted bees has turned up on his 'doorstep'.. :-\
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 10, 2012, 09:37:01
A gentleman on my allotment site has recently bought a hive and some bees.   They only stayed a few days and disappeared.   He has joined the bee society and gone into things so I suppose there is nothing he could have done to stop them.  We are all gutted.   The weather was so bad for the days after they arrived.   Any suggestions please?

It is easy to be 'clever' after the accident happens..but to avoid mishaps like this and other possible easily done things..new beekeepers are always encouraged..or should be, to have good session or course where basic theory of beekeeping is taught and top of that have first year hands on with experienced beekeeper to learn the basics. I also think that is responsibility...or good manners of seller to advise newbie what to do with the new colony to get them settled.
Saying that..after all bees are wild creatures and we can only do so much and guess rest when trying to 'keep' them where we want them.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: grannyjanny on July 10, 2012, 16:00:21
Sorry to hijack this thread but is all this rain going to have a knock on effect on honey production this year.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on July 10, 2012, 16:37:54
Sorry to hijack this thread but is all this rain going to have a knock on effect on honey production this year.

YEP..in a big time.. :( July is one of the 'honey flow' months..and so far bees have had little chance to do any gathering. Even if we get some sun in between showers that is not enough to dry the flower from excess water..when the rain enters inside the flowers, it dilutes the minute amounts of sugar that is in nectar to 'not worth' gathering liquid and untill that water had drid out and new 'full strenght' nectar appeared to replace it there is nothing bees can do..and not only that..they need pollen too and soggy pollen for bees is like carrying bag of concrete around.. ::)
So life of bee is not easy one.

BTW..you are not hijacking anything...its all bee related chat.. ;)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tomatoada on July 10, 2012, 16:48:58
You welcome G/J.

I am sure all the right things were done.    I will mention the feeder.    The bee people are going to bring another lot of bees.  The think he may not have put some piece of pastic in properly to keep the queen. in.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 10, 2012, 16:53:12
Yes, if it's too cold and wet they can't forage, plus nectar is washed out of open flowers like brambles.

Was it a swarm which disappeared? Sometimes they just abscond. Even if the flying bees from a nuc or established colony went back where they came from, you'd still have the nurse bees, brood and queen, and it would build up again.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: tomatoada on July 11, 2012, 08:13:22
Thanks for reply.   Not sure what happened.   Must check this week end.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Twoflower on August 13, 2012, 19:59:11

  Does anyone make their own skeps? and if you do where do you get your material/straw from?  After the soggy cardboard boxes from this year ::) i have decided to teach myself this art form  :)
                     Twoflower
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: sunloving on August 19, 2012, 08:01:17
I went to the Lancaster beekeepers social yesterday, beekeepers are very good cake makers yum! Anyway it was an apiary with lots of the polystyrene hives that have even this year 3 or 4 supers on them and are thriving. It was a revelation really. But discovered that despite their success that it its practically impossible to get beekeepers insurance for them.

Ive not got a hive at home yet but now im definitely thinking it will be a poly one.
Has anyone used them?


x sunloving
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on August 20, 2012, 20:24:14
If they're in the BBKA, insurance comes with membership. I've never tried them; I've had rats chewing their way into empty hives several times, and while that's manageable in a wooden hive, I can't see what you could do with a damaged polystyrene one.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Plot69 on March 29, 2013, 11:07:39
So, I've ordered a hive which should be here any day. I've ordered a nuc which will get here when the weather allows... Now what do I do?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on March 29, 2013, 12:08:48
If you bought your hive flat-packed, assemble it. Otherwise, there's nothing much you can do.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on March 29, 2013, 12:53:53
Yes..get the hive and frames sorted ASAP...and I hope the spot where the hive is about to go is sorted too. Have you got sugar for a feed ready(don't make the syrup yet, but be prepared for it).. they will benefit from some feed straight away in their new home as they won't have time to get gathering any nectar (that's if there is even flowers about) for having to start home building and expansion for future generations.
Its not easy being bee...
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Plot69 on March 29, 2013, 16:45:35
I know all you traditionalists are going to snigger but I've ordered a hive from Omlet. I Watched hours and hours of Utube vids and they seem perfect for me. Also we've had an Omlet chicken run for the past 7 years and it's as good now as the day we got it, albeit we've only got three quail in it now. The chickens have the run of the whole garden now.

I have plenty of places I can put the hive but it's going down the end of the garden behind my shed. I've always wanted bees but living in the city with a 30x30 foot garden meant I couldn't. Now I live in the country with a 50x250 foot garden with fields all round the Mrs decided it was time to get some. In fact it was her who ordered everything, first I heard of it was when she forwarded me the confirmation email from Omlet.

I think I got everything sorted, just giving you all an early warning in leu of the barrage of questions I'll no doubt have. 
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on March 29, 2013, 16:57:54
Oh there is absolutely nothing to snigger about. Like with everything else, things move on and new designs and material are used.
Not so long ago polystyrene hives were the 'new thing'..and some took to them and others not.
When I started bee keeping options for hive materials available was either wood or wood...so I ended up buying whole of wood  :drunken_smilie: Once you invest to lots of beekeeping stuff, it is lot of money if you decide to change your 'system' for something else as not all 'systems' mix and match.
I hope that beekeeping is for you and gives hours of 'fun' stuff to do....honey is nice but its d**n hard work before it is in jar.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: grannyjanny on March 29, 2013, 17:49:12
We were on our way to eldest daughters today & there was a huge bee hanging around on a toll bridge. Should they be out & about while it's sooooooo cold. Our NDN dug out a huge mahonia to (wait for it) make way for a caravan that sits in front of the lounge window. The mahonia used to be covered in bees & the smell was heavenly.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on March 29, 2013, 18:36:39
That will have been a queen bumblebee; they do fly when it's still pretty chilly. If the sun came out for a bit that would be enough to bring the odd one out.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: grannyjanny on March 29, 2013, 18:52:54
It was lovely & sunny Robert & yes it was a big one :icon_cheers:.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Plot69 on April 03, 2013, 17:29:35
Should the Ebola virus ever break out in the remote Lincolnshire rain forest, I'll be ready for it.


(http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb42/m0awb/ebola.jpg)
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: WillieBee on May 13, 2013, 13:47:15
(http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb42/m0awb/ebola.jpg)

An indoor beehive ... that's my idea of a good location.

I recently did a beekeeping course, but I am now struggling to find a good location for a hive. Initially I had assumed my back garden would be ideal, but it only receives late sun. Also, I don't think I would be happy with just one hive.

With this in mind I have set up a website, to match would be beekeepers looking for hive space, with others who have space, but don't want to keep bees themselves.

The website can be found on my profile page.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: GrannieAnnie on May 13, 2013, 17:38:24
Tony,

Careful. NASA might nab you and send you in orbit.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 13, 2013, 18:37:02
Your local BKA might have some ideas where you could put the hive.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 13, 2013, 19:59:47
Video of a swarm which moved into one of my empty hives on Thursday. Another arrived this morning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH6uTIGimNQ
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 14, 2013, 19:53:21
Another swarm which arrived yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfRc7qXXP0
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Mikeakabigman on July 14, 2013, 20:36:50
Fascinating , thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Nigel B on July 30, 2013, 05:11:02
Just something that I have always wanted to ask but never met the right person yet....
SooOooo.. :wave:
If a beehive was built and left empty, and assuming there were no other hives nearby, what are the chances that honey-bees will find and colonise it?
 'If you build it they will come' sort of thinking...
Just so I know, yunno?
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on July 30, 2013, 18:31:21
If it's a new hive, probably not that great. I get them moving into empty hives every year, but they're attracted by the smell of old broodcomb, and I have hives deliberately set up to attract them.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: goodlife on February 02, 2014, 13:31:03
It seems like ages since I've last time seen my bees, or any bees. It was beginning of the December when I dropped some fondant on as 'emergency feed' to keep them going for months ahead.
Last few years I've been paid to keep bees on our local shopping centre's roof, but just got call that they wanted to end it...so today being reasonably good day we went to fetch the hives back on allotment.
One hive, that I knew had fairly good size winter colony was active and eating the fondant away..that was packed VERY carefully for transport..other one, no sign of any life and fondant wasn't touched neither. I didn't lift the crownboard to see if there was any live ones left or not, but 'packed the hive', plenty of straps on and off we went.
Back on the allotment, once I removed the bungs from the entrances....."whoaaa!" ..loads of bees came to check up their new recidence...and from both hives  :icon_cheers:
Now I feel like the spring is almost there...bees were sunning in their new spots and so far future is looking positive!!!!!!!...at least there is bees in there. They are going to be pampered with plenty of more fondant to make sure they don't go hunry...spring feed to follow to get them really going and then there is no stopping them...LET THE HONEY FLOODS COME... :tongue3: :icon_cheers: :sunny:
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Plot69 on March 24, 2014, 11:43:09
My bees have made it through their first winter. I provided them with sugar but they wasn't that interested in it. They've been out and about foraging for a couple of weeks now coming back loaded with pollen. Can only imagine it's from all the heather filled gardens that abound in this viilage.

So happy they made it after such a wet winter.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: Robert_Brenchley on June 03, 2014, 22:24:42
An utterly uncooperative swarm I tried in vain to deal with!

http://thisandthat-robert.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-swarm-arrives-and-leaves-again.html
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping: Bees on the Ivy
Post by: Melbourne12 on September 11, 2015, 12:10:59
I looked out of the window this sunny morning to see what I thought must be a swarm either forming or dispersing!  Obviously that wouldn't be happening at this time of year, and I realised that a huge number of bees had arrived to feast on the ivy that proliferates in the line of trees at the end of our garden.

Everything is happening early this year.  Normally the ivy is one of the last sources of top-up supplies for the winter.  I hope that this doesn't mean that the bees will run out of stores before the spring.
Title: Re: Bees and Beekeeping
Post by: brownthumb2 on July 09, 2017, 07:44:55
 we had a swam of bees arrive  under our shed at the Lottie  as they were right by the door we wanted them moved   luckily our next door neighbour is a bee keeper so was able to help us   He removed part of shed  floor and he couldn't locate the queen so put a brooder box on top of the hole with some honey smeared in it  Hoping the queen will find her way in during the night hes going back this morning to check  with the view of moving them to night. We would have loved to have an hive on the plot but have no experience in bee keeping