Bees – robber screen

I meant to have put this post on here earlier but did not get round to doing it and did not get round to using the robber screen as it was.
The first day I started feeding I had a problem with robbing, noticed it pretty quickly so I put grass in the entrance and left it, in between time Mike went and researched robber screens and I kept an eye on the hive, reduced the entrance to even smaller one and left it.

By the morning Mike made this: Robber screen

I kept a very close eye on the hive with its reduced entrance and if there was any other robbers I would have changed it for the robber screen but that was not the case so have not tried it. It is very good to know we have it. After that the bees did not get robbed, they protected the entrance really well and did not let any introders in. I stopped feeding in mid September left the super reduced entrance for a little bit longer and then changed it for a a reduced entrance. We had a couple of weeks of cold and wet weather but now it is dry, sunny and a bit warmer they are picking pollen again, there is not that much more for them to pick anymore we have Autumnal wild crocuses and asters, Autumn raspberries.

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Photos September 2017


Some pictures from Mushrooms we found or saw. Huge amounts of Fly Agaric, Ceps and then just some that I loved the look of but have not looked them up yet to know what is what. A tray of mushrooms once cleaned ready to be dealt with. My favourite Salamander I used to see quite a few of these lovely lizards but have not seen many over the last few years which is a great shame.
Meddy and her chams, the newest ram and our youngest ewe have not come round to Meddy’s charm. Sun coming up first thing in the morning which was also one of the first few frosty mornings with fog coming through the valley, it looked amazing. Lastly a rainbow first thing in the morning on the South side, it made it from end to end and another one was forming along it, I like rainbows.

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Meddy’s sterilization

We had our bitch Meddy sterilized on Monday (11.9.2017) she was just about 3 months after her first period.
We arranged it for the morning so Meddy had  her dinner a little bit earlier and that was all food she had prior to the op. I liked the way it was done as when we got there, they gave her an injection, “to put her in the mood” then we were told to sit down and leave her to calm down with us being there about 5-10 min later they gave her the anesthetic injection. 5 min later she was alseep, he came and picked her up, we were told to be back an hour later. By the time we came, Meddy was done, she was sort of aware we were there but pretty much out of it all. Her tummy was stiched up about 10cm or just under it, sprayed silver grey all around the cut. We drove home, put her on the floor in the workshop with some of her bedding from the car. I put her there as we were going to be out and around so I could keep an eye on her. After lunch she was able to stand, she went for a wee but did not really want to do that much more, went to her bed, she licked all the grey stuff off, of course she was sick, actually she had a couple of biscuits and some water during the first day, both of which she did not manage to keep.

Day 2, we went out for a very short walk in the morning, on lead, still was not that interested so took it easy all day with on and off breaks outside but another day of sleeping, she did eat and managed to keep it, so I split her meals in little portions and gave them to her throughout the day, and we went on from there with every day noticeable improvement.  If we were outside she was there too, we just have not incorporated her in our jobs as much as we had done prior to the op.  Today we are on day 6 she is walking off the lead in the morning with me keeping an eye on her so she does not go and chase anything, I wash her tummy after the morning walk with diluted TCP, Depending how it looks I put Germolene on it as well, as about 3 days ago I noticed her licking it lots so I looked and it was a little bit red with red patches around it, I guess some dirt got onto it, hence the use of disinfectant. Since then we have not had a problem. The cut is a little pink but otherwise looking good. We are playing with ball, catching and running I am just trying to do it with a bit of consideration. We are suppose to go back to the Vets about 10 -14 days for a check up.

We did not use the Elizabethian smart collar, the Vet did not suggest it, but even if he did I would not have put it on her. I think  it makes it more stressfull and I rather keep an eye on it myself. Even though she licks it I keep a watch and if I believe she is overdoing it I just make sure she stops it.

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Bees in September 2017

I started feeding on the 22 of August with 1 1/2l of the inverted syrup I purchased a year ago. I rung the chap from the shop where I got it from to make sure it is safe to use and he said, as long as you stored in a dark and cool place it should be all right, taste it if it tastes bitter don’t use it, if it tastes sweet its ok. I did all of those and it tasted sweet so I gave it to them. Firstly I fed them a feed per night they cleared it by morning or 10 ish the next day, if they did not I gave them an extra day.

I also did a Varroa check with the Hive Clean from BeeVital and on a Varroa count the next morning I counted 5 so I continued feeding from now on by 2l per feed so a litre of syrup in each compartment of the feeder.

28.August they started to slow down in taking the syrup and I wondered whether they will have enough space as there was quite a few bees there so I found the super I took off  earlier and put the fuild foundation into the middle leaving the new frames on the sides. I added this box under the first super. I looked into it, in my opinion and the reason why I put it at the bottom under the existing super was mainly due to the fact that they nearly filled the super they had with stores, to give them more space they can build and lay eggs, etc into the bottom super and when it gets cold and they start clustering they will go up and the top super will be full of stores. Whether I imagined it or not, shortly after I added the super they sounded much happier. These bees are very vocal. During feeding they were making low hum, upon opening it was a bit louder, when I lifted the glass they would fan really quickly, change of temperature.

10. September I put on my hat and set out to take the feeder off and do a Varroa treatment again. In total they took 23l of inverted syrup. I actually think they would keep going, except, I used up my last year syrup and for a colony which I put in one super I think 23 l should be sufficient. There is a load of pollen they keep bringing, bright orange in colour. 
When I took the feeder off, they stuck it from every angle, they sounded pretty angry, I thought about leaving it there for them to clean but they started building on the sides and through the feeding mesh so I decided it would be easier in a long run to just take it away from them. They flew about buzzing loudly but none stung me, I did not wear gloves, They are still the loveliest bees I have had. I had to shake them from the feeder as they did not want to leave it, they flew toward the hive and stayed by the entrance fanning ferociously when I came back in a couple of minutes they were all gone, with just a few bees flying around the hive.

When I gave them the first lot of sirup I had a bit of robbing occurring, as it was towards the end of the day I stuffed grass into the entrance and left it, when it got dark and colder it was nice and quiet I changed the entrance to a smaller one and Mike researched a robber screen and by the next day came up with a design which he set out to make, by lunch time I had a robber screen. It looks really good, fortunately I have not had to try it out yet as from then on the bees have coped really well with robbers.  Will add pictures next time.

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Flora and Fauna August 2017


We managed to go Blueberry picking, OMG the blueberries this year have been stunning, so big and sweet and lovely. I went for a walk with Meddy from a hill in our village –  Mravecnik, it was a cool morning the mist was rising, it looked stunning. Found a caterpillar amongst the Cranberries we went to pick, the yellow pattern was just mesmerizing I love caterpillars. We were suppose to pick cranberries, Well Mike did I did a bit more of a Blue and Cran berry mix as you can see. There is the happy couple with Kravarske Zitne Baraniarky in the background. We had a bit of an exchange of rams last week the little one went and we got the one in the back. We still got two the white one stayed as you can see. Another walk past Maly Rozsutec towards Zazriva views of Vratna were just amazing. Wicked walk, even though reasonably tiring. Found an adder on the ground in the morning, it was so cold, really sad it looked just amazing, I do like these creatures.

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Things and places we got up to

 We have officialy finished hay making, our barn is full, we still have boards on the top of our hay just to allow a little bit of space between the roof and the hay, but they will be able to come off and it will give the hay a bit of space to breathe. We have got our garlic in the sheep shed now drying, it is looking really good. The garden itself is not too bad, my carrots never really came up and the few that did were finished off by either slugs or carrot fly, onions are very good, we tried red onions again this year, haven’t had that much success with them before but this year they are looking pretty good, we have started picking peas and broad beans. Mike told me that our broad beans are huge so I had to take a picture of him standing next to them. I left the Purple spr.Broccoli in the garden as the bees came onto the flowers and I could not bring myself to pull them out, double use, tripple actually as even the chickens and the sheep benefited from them as we gave them the pulled out plants.

We have also managed to sneak in a cycle ride just above the house. A test for us and for Meddy as neither of us have done much cycling this year and Meddy has not been involved either, but it actually worked out really well, she does not go mad on the road, need to get her used to different noises and animals by houses, dogs behind gates etc but as we just started it was pretty good.

We went walking in Vratna for about 2 hours. We went to Boboty, rocky terrain, in the woods, coming back by the side of the river. Very nice to do some walking up there again.
Meddy had a bit of a sore foot and I thought it was the rocky path that did it, the next day I had a bit of a poke around and she really wanted to be elsewhere a bit of pus came out so no rocky path but a thorn. We managed to get it out, after a bit of squealing. First of many. (thornes and squeales I guess)
I don’t think I will ever get over Meddy’s love of water and mud, although she prefers to be able to walk in and waddle in, sometimes the muddier the better.

I found a finch on the stairs after it flew into the window I guess it looked well shaken so I held it for while and then placed it in this tree root we have in the garden, Mike found it wandering on the lawn later, and with two cats he decided to lift it into an acer tree on the lawn, it stayed there well into the night and I suppose joined its friends in the morning, did not find any feathers so I believe it flies to live another day, and the last is a pictures of our Hyssop plants in the Eye bed, they were so full of bees it was absolutely amazing.
The bees are doing pretty well, I am glad we built the apiary as the weather has been really hot, 33 C for the last week or so, today we have rain and about 20 C. The roof has given them a bit of a break from the sun through the day. They are still as nice and as calm as at the beginning. Very happy.

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I took these pictures as they were different and as they reminded me of Roxy mainly the first one. We went wild strawberry picking last week and Meddy kept an eye on us, moving around with us as we went up or down the hill picking the fruit, then she found this root that gave her a really good view point and did not move till a deer started barking close by and she decided she should answer back. Roxy used to find a view point and just stay there, once she fell asleep and we woke her up by calling for her that we finished.

The next picture is from yesterday Saturday, Meddy figured out how to get into the sheep enclosure when I am there feeding them and came and found me as I was doing my round checking the fence, the sheep get on really well with her, sometimes a bit too well. The one who she seemed to have real affinity to we gave back to her original home as she was so stressed most of the time we decided it would be better for our sheep and for her to go to a bigger herd. But her and Meddy got on really well. Meddy talks to all of our sheep the lambs are very inquisitive, the Ewe sort of accepts her although she does butt  her out of the way. Meddy does not seem to mind for now anyway.

The last is from today we went for a walk it was humid and Meddy found a puddle on the track, I think I mentioned this before but she blows bubbles and dives into water and loves it as you can see.  Have not seen her diving when she is swimming, but I have not seen her jump into water yet either. She does love water.

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Bees update

I added a super to my bees on Thursday the 6th of July I had a quick look at them and decided they were getting quite full in their little home, I had one frame that they build the foundation on one side and not the other, otherwise all the rest of them had either brood or stores or both on them, I rung Juro just to make sure I was thinking along the right line and he agreed (I am a bit reluctant this time, my confidence dropped a little and I am building it up again, just need a little reassurance. I picked a super that had nice clean, fresh wax foundation on it, took every second out and replaced it it one with bees and brood on, I took 2 more like this, once done I put it together and shut them up. They are such lovely bees, they are calm, busy, always out weather permitting, absolutely amazing to work with, I put a jacket and hat on but quiet a lot of the time I took the hat off, I even had a look at them in my shorts, I know things could go wrong, hence the jacket and the hat just in case, but they are the calmest bees I have had. Thank you Juro.

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Bees update

13.6.2017 I moved two frames with foundation (relatively new foundation) amongst the 6 frames from Juro as they were not building out, will be checking again sometimes this week. They are busy, calm, quiet, nice.

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Meddy has been with us for 3 months now and

 she has been an absolute joy to have and be around. Of course there are little odd things and naughty things that she does but who does not, we did not want an angel. I did not anyway. She has actually just finished her season which she dealt with pretty well. Had to stop walking her and Ares the Rottie together for 5 days just before the finish it was getting a bit out of hand. She was really whacked half way through it. Otherwise she is very good, knows how to relax, she is getting used to us working outside, she is learning about scything, we did our first field last Monday, at the beginning we left her at home as there was nowhere for her to go but once we cut some strips Mike let her out and she was pretty good, slightly angry with us waking her up I think was her biggest complaint. I took some pictures as she has grown a bit and I wanted to update Radka the girl who looked after her before us.Meddy loves water, can’t get enough of it actually, I think she would dive if she could but we have not found water deep enough yet to try it out, but she likes to drop things in the water and dive her head to pick them up. we have lots of fun. I am also going to add a couple of pictures of the Heuchera bed with the Cercis that really suffered this winter as has the Acer that is next to it, they both got huge die back that we cut out, the colours of the Heuchera is just  . Last picture is from the Eye bed by the bees and the Hellebores that is amazing.

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