Reducing the hives

Checked the hives last week,  the only hive with 3 supers is hive A, they are actually looking really good.

Hive C, my stropy hive is down to 2 now, I thought they would expand but upon checking it out, I have decided they have enough room in the two supers without having to heat up the 3d one.

Hive B has two supers, seems to have settled in.

Hive E and D are back to one super and mostly occupying the middle of it.

Keeping an eye on them all but they all seems to have sorted themselves out again, the Queens are laying but not a lot, the bees are busy getting out, as and when they can, the last two days have not bee that great for them but as soon as it stops raining they go out again. It is suppose to be good weather now for a few days.

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Feeding = Robbing

I am starting to think that this is going to be the case every time I feed my bees. Firstly once I started feeding I reduced the entrances, on the small hives I actually put in my entrance reducers with small entrance for 1 or 2 bees, just in case there is interest by other bees,insects. At the beginning it seemed to go unnoticed and then things changed. I firstly gave food to just two hives, the smallest. Then I did an inspection and realized that out of the 6 hives I only had one hive that had some stores in and they were forecasting really bad weather so I gave them about 500g of Apifonda each, after the robbing episode, I gave them a couple of days, closed of the hive that had the most problems, my newly made up hive and added 200g of Apifonda, left them closed for 3 days, on day 3 they were rather loud, it was sunny, they were no bees around this hive. I opened it up, few bees came out, some bees took away dead bees, for the rest of the day they were reasonably calm, the next day I fear there was an intereset by other bees, but this time I just left it, they used up the food I gave them, they still have a capped Queen cell, and they seemed much calmer. I am hoping to open it up either this week or next and have a quick look and take of the feeder, as they are building underneath it and I don’t really want them to so it will be better if it does not stay there very long. I have also given 5 hives Bee Vital Hive Clean a 15ml dose for Varroa as I have noticed a few Varroa mites here and there.

We have had a few weeks with unsettled weather, but who has not?, there are wild flowers in the fields that got cut, plus wild clover, Priganum. In our garden we have Echinacea, Monarda, Origanum wild and yellow, Rudbeckia, Campanula, Hyssop blue and pink, Lavender, .. but I supposed there still is not that much, or even if there is, it has been too wet, or too dry. I don’t know, sometimes I think I am fighting a loosing battle. Or I am trying to hard. ? I don’t know whether this is possible but I don’t want to teach the bees to be “lazy” and bring them food if and when they run out of stores. I need to learn to ignore them. The last time I fed them and closed them I told myself that I am away for 3 days, and even though I went and looked at them I worked hard not to do anything. That is what I will do learn to ignore them from time to time, I like to think I am much better than what I used to be and don’t constatnly open them up or prod them about. I do like to watch and Mike build a nice seating area under a tree so you can see the bees hives with entrance, their comings and goings, I like to sit there and watch. First picture is from Hive F before the robbing last week, the next picture is from the Apiary with the seat.

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Fed two hives,

Decided that I am going to feed my two smallest hives,

Hive B and F got a handfull of Apifonda last night, around 10pm, it was relatively warm about 14 degrees, it was drizzling. I opened the hive, the bees were calm, I put the food near them, as close as I could and put a paste feeder up side down on the food and then put the plastic cover on top so they could not go through the circle in the middle. they went straight to it. I decided to do it mainly as we have had a week of cold and rainy weather there is not that much stuff in the country side that is flowering right now and the tow hives are small and weak as they had no stores when I inspected them on the 15th. We have levander, echinacea, ligularia, digitalis, origanum, monarda, hyssop, campanula flowering right now but due to the weahter they really did not go mad, there was a few going out during the drizzling periods but they were few and far between.

Hoping to check on the bees next week, the weather is suppose to even out and get nicer and warmer again.

I had to put entrance reducers on both the hives plus the mesh in front the entrance as Hive F was strangly buzy with bees. Soon after the mesh was put in place it all calmed down.

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Bees

I did an inspection on the 5th of this month,

my biggest surprise was hive E, I honestly thought that would be doing really well until I opened it on the 5th, took the top super away as they really were not doing anything in there, most of the stores that they had are gone, I am guessing the Queen layed lots of eggs, there were not many flowers to pick nectar from, the limes did not flower as much this year as they were hit by a frost so they ate what they had.

Hive B had brood, very little stores, Hive F bees were nice and calm, did not see the Queen and did not see eggs, just in case added a frame of capped and larvae from hive C.

Hive C 4 frames of stores, really nice colony, usually get a bit jittery if I have their hive open too long, but they are strong, go out in any weather.

Hive A a few frames of stores in their third super, looking good.

Hive D still sticking to working, laying in the middle of the supers, very little amount of eggs and I did not see the Queen, really need to check this coming week whether they have eggs in there, gave them Bee Vital Hive Clean on the 7th in the evening, it was quite cool I just opened the hive and gave them 15 ml of Hive Clean, the only hive with some Varoa.

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Cat and her friends

Our newest addition to the crochet menagerie

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New Hive “F”

Last night we shuffled the hives a bit to make a space for one more hive, Hive F, the only hive which really took umbridge to being moved was hive C, they really came out in droves investigating and buzzying around, it did not last too long as we did it nearly at dusk.

This morning started off with heavy cloud, drizzle, rain, and then sunshine appeared and it warmed up so I decided I would give them a go. It sort of clouded over and sort of drizzled but we continued, the bees were in good nature, very calm, not aggresive, came and investigated me a few times, one tried to sting but did not have much luck and then it gave up, I managed to work without gloves again, and it is so much nicer. I still keep a pair of gloves in my pocket just in case. Started of with the smallest one Hive B

20160613 005 20160613 004 The cleanest frame is a foundationless frame, put that there instead the frame which had the food in.You can see the Queen in the second picture, she is doing better than before, still not laying as drastically as she should be but I am going to let them to sort things out. Took out the entrance reducer.

Hive C, I took a frame of brood, capped and uncapped from 2nd super, it has 4 QC in it, they are all empty, also took a frame from 3d super with honey – uncapped plus nursing bees. Ohterwise it has 2nd super nearly filled with brood, 3 d super has 4-5 frames with honey stores.

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Hive A, saw the Queen, they have nice capped honey in the 3d super, I took a frame of brood and capped honey with nursing bees.
Hive D, the first super has 4 frames unoccupied by brood or stores, found a frame with QC in it so took that, it has brood, capped and uncapped plus some drones and put it into hive F.

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Hive E, 4th super, some bees in, not doing that much to it yet, 3d super stores, 2nd super frames with brood, capped and uncapped found a frame with QC and brood, took that and a frame of stores and put that into F, plus nursing bees.

Hive F, has 1 new frame, 1 foundationless, frame of brood +bees, stores from C, frame of brood + bees and stores from A, frame of brood + bees from D, frame of brood + bees and stores from E, 1 foundationless frame, 1 new frame. We shall see. I opened the entrance.

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Picture of our garden well some of it, isn’t it amazingly green??? Mind you, warmth and rain, an amazing growing medium.
Last picture is of my newest Crochet cat that I made for a friend of ours.

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Busy Bees, …

I have checked the bees since my last post, they have been really busy and doing reasonably well.

I am due to check them again sometimes this week but the hives up to date are as follows.

Hive E now has 5 supers, the last one was added on the 3d of June, they are doing really well.

Hive B, got another frame of brood with bees this time, did not shake any of it, just picked up a frame with capped and some opened brood and stuck it in this is what it looked like I did this on the 23d of May, took it from hive C

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Hive C – received a super with 4 foundationless frames inside, doing really well, Queen laying nicely.

Hive A – they still have enough space for expansion without the need of adding any more supers.

Hive D I had to move the frames around as they just wanted to go only up and not sideways, so I scattered it a bit.

 

They have been really well behaved,I wanted to check the hives one morning and they soon let me know it was not going to be so I backed away to return later on, it was a much easier decision to do it later.

The garden has suddendly sprung into action, we have had rain most of the days on and off and reasonably warm weather so perfect for growing, I have my fist poppy in flower and it looks gorgeous even though it is its third day and its nearly finished, more to come, we are getting ready to scythe the fields just really planning for a 5 day dry patch, not sure whether we can get it this week.

I have planted up the courgettes, yellow and green, in the currant/goosberry bed it is a bit of a test we shall see how well they will work together. I seemed to have overplanted the cucumbers but if need be the animals will eat them. The lettuces are finally doing something as are the tomatoes, it took them 3 weeks to germinate. Wicked.

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Pictures of bees + flowers

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Bees are getting very busy, cowslips, cherries, wild plumbs, hawthorn, may, in our garden helleborus, fritallaria, bluberries, pulsatilla. I nearly forgot I managed to find and buy a cercis canadensis “forest pansy” had one of these in the UK and loved it, have been looking out for one of them since we have moved, 7 years on and I have one in the garden, brilliant. They were coming in with light and dark yellow pollen, I am planning to check them some time this week. I got 3 supers ready if and when I need to add any more space. It was good watching them today we had a nice day sunny and warm, except for the wind which was not very nice. Going to enlarge the entrance on two of the bigger hives.

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Greenhouse

Just wanted to share with you our new greenhouse, we have looked at these for the last two years, and due to our weather/season being a bit quick and short we have finally made the decision to purchase a greenhouse.

This is a Russian made greenhouse sold in Slovakia, I think Mike might have mentioned something on his blog about it. Still here it is from start to finish, now it has its new plants plugs in it, plants that I am hoping to grow in there, watch this space.

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Feeding, inspections, …

On the 7th of April I mixed up syrup and got ready to feed, just prior to two days of rain, except with that came colder temperatures so it took them longer to take. I mixed up 250ml of syrup with 40ml of BeeStrong from Bee Vital. I know they say use 25ml per hive or double the dose per weaker hive. I thought as I had a 250ml botle of Bee Strong and if I give each hive 40 ml I will have 50 ml left so I could still give two single shots to two hives if I wanted to at a later date. Wether that was clever or not time will tell.

The stronger hives took the syrup mix within 3-4 days but my two smaller colonies took their time, actually the one colony that was small and then it got robbed hardly took it, so on the 13 of April when I was looking at them, and taking the empty feeders off I decided I was going to spray some of the syrup into a frame, put that in and the leftover I took away as it has been out there for nearly a week and I don’t think that is very good. Either way, this hive is fighting on, it has little amounts of stores, little amounts of bees but the Queen is there and she is laying so what I am planning to do is to give them one frame of stores and one frame of brood. Most people would have joined this colony with another one, but I am going to try and get them better and bigger again, after all we are all learning. As I have left myself some Bee Strong this hive is going to get some more but this time I am going to spray it onto a frame and put it right next to the bees.

I gave a hive a new super on the 5th, with 4 Foundationless frames inside it, they have nearly finished building them when I checked on the 13th and already started filling this super up. Another of my better colonies has a super nearly full with honey, some of which is capped, gave them a super with 4 Foundationless frames in there.

During my last inspection the bees were very calm and collective, the last two times I have opened up the hives I have done so later on in the day, around 3pm, I decided that the bees have less chance of being angry, they have had some time out collecting pollen, nectar etc, they have had their exercising flights around the hive and there is less chance of the smell from honey drifting away and bringing in trouble. So far it has worked.

Trees and plants in flower are, Cracked Willow has nearly finished that has been a star this year, there are many Cowslips in the fields, Maple has come into flower, Hawthorn, May,Cherries, are just about going to open up. It has cooled down a little, we had cloudy rainy weather today about + 8 C, yesterday we had sunshine and about + 19C so it flactuates a little bit, but it is acceptable.

 

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