Saturday, 25 July 2009

Bees hanging out

Last Wednesday I went to a local neighbourhood policing meeting. We discussed the problem of groups, (usually youths) hanging around outside each other's house. I couldn't help think this is exactly what my bees do.

I have been  observing the hive at different times of the day. It is noticeable that the bees are more active (as expected) at certain times of the day. In mid-afternoon, and when the air temperature is high it is then a large number of bees appear to be just 'hanging out'. At their most vigorous mode the hustle and bustle outside the hive must resemble some kind of rush hour traffic.

Before I had the bees I had always assumed they will come and go very much like planes do at an airport. What I had not expected is this 'hanging out' together. When they do this many bees would just be milling around outside the entrance seemingly just chilling out. Maybe there is something we don't know about honey bees. 

Saturday, 18 July 2009

HIve inposection

Since the last inspection I took a good friend's advice and left the bees alone to "get on with things" for over 2 weeks. The weather last week was very poor. We had regular down pours. Some part of the country got a whole month's worth of rain in just 24 hours.

My son was very excited so my wife put a veil and a big coat over him and asked him to stand a little distance away and watch. He is asking for a proper bee suit.

On opening the hive I saw that none of the foundation frames in the super, which I added 2 week's ago, have been worked on. I did expect some sign of these foundations being drawn. Moving on to the brood box the picture was very different. All but two frames are now fully drawn. Frame 2 is half drawn and already has some honey. That leaves frame 1 still waiting for the bees to work on. The next few frames are all full of honey, but there are no obvious signs of brood cells. Then came frame 7  which has quite a few sealed brood cells. The following three frames also have plenty of brood.  I saw one bee emerging and also some grubs. But no sign of the queen this time round. There are a few drone cells. My eyesight is not the best and I am still finding it difficult to see any eggs. I shall properly get a more experienced keeper to come and have a look at my hive just to make sure things are as they should be.

Without doubt there will be no honey for me this year and am happy to let the colony to build itself up for the rest of the season.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Second inspection

My pear trees are full of fruits, and the two Buddleias on either ends of my hive are now in full bloom, so my bees have not got far to go for food. Yesterday I woke up rather early at 5 am and noted that the bees were already going out foraging.

I have been very busy with work this week so hive inspection was delay until today. I found the bees calm as before. They have not yet drawn the first three new frames at the near end, that I put down when they first arrived. From the fourth frame on ward there definite signs of recent activities. 

The original frames from the nuc are now well developed. The new drawn frames are full of store. The one empty new foundation that I placed at one end, right next to the original nuc frames, are now drawn and heavy with honey. I saw the queen again still loitering on one of the original nuc frames. There are seal brood cella some of which are drone cells, Everything look healthy enough. I tried but cannot see any eggs, or grubs. It's not easy seeing through the veil. I am thinking of getting someone who is more experience to have a look for me. Just for now I am happy that they are alright.

I am planning to put a super on top soon this will give them more space for storing food. As yet I have not decided if I should have a super as half of a brood chamber. This will give the hive a 'brood and a half' and should build up the colony nicely. Again I need to consult a more experience keeper. After the recent robbing incident I reduced the entrance with a mouse guard. This seemed to have done the trick. Yesterday as things appear to be better I finally removed the guard and now the entrance is back to normal.