The polystyrene hives are made and housing a couple of colonies of local bees. They are from a friend and local beekeeper who took 2 nucleii of bees off one of his hives. One is doing better than the other but this seems to be because one was much larger than the other. I’m trying to balance them up by moving brood frames between them and it seems to be slowly working.
I also now have a swarm of bees resident in my top bar hive. They are producing some lovely new white comb, but the queen hasn’t started laying yet. Might be the weather?
On the down side, my original hive isn’t doing so well. I’ve split it into two but neither new hive have got going very well yet. I know the bees know what they’re doing but they often don’t do what you’ve anticipated. I guess as a beekeeper you always have to expect the unexpected.
Inspecting a hive
Swarm in the top bar
Look at that lovely new honeycomb
Polystyrene hive parts
Having put the bees to bed over the winter I needed to prepare for the next season as I wanted to have more than just one hive. I decided that due to costs the way to go was to get a couple of polystyrene hives. They were about half the price of cedar ones and actually had more boxes I could use. (Normally I wouldn’t consider something that isn’t recyclable but cost was the main factor this time around)
The kit came from our local supplier Maisemore Apiaries and arrived in double-quick time. They went together really easily and are just the job. Pictures in future posts.
So long since my last post – what’s been going on.
Well, having moved house two and a half years ago we had builders in at the beginning of 2018. They finished end of May 2018 and since then I’ve been working on the internal fit. Doing everything except the plumbing and electrics. Nowhere near finished the house but the beekeeping has continued – I just haven’t been writing about it.
Check back for more soon.
A couple of days ago, together with 6 other members of our beekeeping group, I took my basic beekeeping exam. Although I’m in my second year I’ve only had my own bees for just over 12 months.
There is a practical element to the exam where we have to inspect a hive (not our own) and comment on what we see. And also an oral test with the examiner asking g lots of questions about the lifecycle of bees, how to manage swarms and what diseases and pests there are.
I think I did ok on the exam, but I’ll know for sure in about a week. One of the main benefits of passing is that I can then manage my bees on my own without having to have someone with me. Plus the fact it means my knowledge is at an ok point right now.
There is still a lot to learn, see and do but the advantage of joining a group is that there are experienced people around to learn from and help us along the way.
I think the next exam is on Bee health but I’ll have a little break before diving in to that one. Think I’ll save it for the winter when there’s not much to do at the apiary. The bees don’t hibernate but they get less active and don’t leave the hive very often.
Where has the time gone since my last post. A lot has happened and I must get better at keeping this game updated or I’ll forget what I did.
Since uniting my hives (one with a queen, one without) things have got much better. The queen seems to be a good one and is laying well and the number of bees has increased substantially. Despite the hot, dry weather they seem to be bringing in a good amount of nectar and pollen. Won’t get any honey again this year but I’d rather the bees have what there is. Maybe next year will be better.
In terms of numbers of bees it’s hard to put a figure of it but at the last inspection there were 7 frames that were almost completely full of eggs, larvae and bees yet to hatch. That’s a lot!
No change from last week. Except the main hive now has very few bees, so even if the queen shows up there aren’t enough workers to feed her and look after any eggs she lays. The plan is to merge the two hives together but I can’t do it until next week as I need to get them in the same location.
Lets hope nothing happens to the second hive in the meantime otherwise I might end up with no bees. It also looks like I won’t get any honey again this year, but you never know.
Still no sign of the queen in my main hive. The number of bees is rapidly diminishing as there are no new eggs, larvae etc to replace the old ones that are dying off. I think we need to take action, possibly by adding a frame of brood from another hive.
My second hive is still doing quite well. The number of bees is increasing week by week but it may be that I have to unite it with the main hive to give it a chance of surviving rather than just adding a frame of brood.
In the meantime I’m still working towards learning and, more importantly, remembering everything I need to know to pass my Basic Exam.