I am now a Beekeeper!!

I am now a Beekeeper!!

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Discussion

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Sunday 14th March
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Bill said:
Here are the two options.

By the veg:



In the jungle:

Bill you are blessed with both options thumbup

My opinion, especially if South is away from the veg beds, is the top photo. You wont get any problems from behind your hive/s (I say hives as you will end up with at least two unless you give away any splits that will happen!

The biggest enjoyment for me is to be able to wander down and watch my bees any time of day with ease. You will get used to knowing when they're feisty, they will let you know. They will give you a few "bumps" as a warning to keep your distance.

Has your wife been able to get up and close to bees yet? Confidence plays a big part in bee keeping.

Bill

45,467 posts

222 months

Monday 15th March
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She hasn't yet because there's no face to face lessons at the moment.

The veg photo is facing north and the jungle photo facing south. Apparently I got the jungle spot wrong, but the place she actually wants is more shady and beside the seat with a view where we go for a drink in the evening which would sit in the flight path.

LeadFarmer

4,153 posts

98 months

Thursday 18th March
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I don't currently have any knowledge of bees, but this year I'm turning my garden over to plants that attracts pollinators.
I have recently purchased a few different nestboxes for solitary bees, they have inspection chambers to observe them.
For now I've located a couple of them in the wood store on the south facing patio, and I'll be reading up on what I need to do next..




dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Friday 19th March
quotequote all
LeadFarmer said:
I don't currently have any knowledge of bees, but this year I'm turning my garden over to plants that attracts pollinators.
I have recently purchased a few different nestboxes for solitary bees, they have inspection chambers to observe them.
For now I've located a couple of them in the wood store on the south facing patio, and I'll be reading up on what I need to do next..



Interesting stuff looking forward to updates thumbup

XCP

15,646 posts

195 months

Saturday 20th March
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Should be receiving our cocoons through the post any day now.

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
OK to get bang up to date - both my hives showed no signs of a queen (no eggs, larvae and very little capped brood but plenty of honey etc.) on my final inspection before the winter lockdown. All i could do was wait and make sure they had food in the way of fondant. I took one frame of honey for myself which was my entire harvest for that year - very expensive honey but was amazing.

I spent months not knowing if either hive was viable but at least I could monitor for signs of live via interior temperature and probably more important humidity sensors. It was now a waiting game and was doing my head in banghead

Coming out of winter signs were better as the girls were coming out on sunny days for "cleansing flights" or to take a dump in laymans terms hehe

If you remember we had a spell of really warm and sunny days about 3 weeks ago - bees were loving it and bringing in early pollen which was ver encouraging. So I bit the bullet and planned a quick inspection of the weaker hive with the sole intention of closing it back up if there was any signs of a queen being at home. Here's the video I took. It's a tad lengthy, full of "bad practice" (I make no apology my excuse being it got pretty emotional as you may tell). Bear with it and use the fast forward button if you get bored wink



And for the beekeepers out there please feel free to criticise and indeed point out my cock ups thumbup

XCP

15,646 posts

195 months

Saturday 20th March
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was that filmed using a drone?

Bill

45,467 posts

222 months

Sunday 21st March
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thumbup

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Sunday 21st March
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Bloody good scrap yesterday.....................


CharlesdeGaulle

17,182 posts

147 months

Sunday 21st March
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dickymint - any chance you can explain what's happening? I don't really know the relevance of what I'm looking at.

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Tuesday 23rd March
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CharlesdeGaulle said:
dickymint - any chance you can explain what's happening? I don't really know the relevance of what I'm looking at.
For sure - Probably an old bee (they appear to get darker as they lose their hairs) past her sell by date and being booted out! There has been more of it the past couple of days.............



I thought maybe robber bees from a nearby apiary but I'm told by my mentor not.



Bill

45,467 posts

222 months

Saturday 27th March
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We've got our spot prepared! bounce Neither of the ones I've mentioned so far obvs! biggrin


dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Saturday 27th March
quotequote all
Bill said:
We've got our spot prepared! bounce Neither of the ones I've mentioned so far obvs! biggrin

Looks ideal. Which way is South and which way do you approach it?

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Saturday 27th March
quotequote all
Last Sunday I hurriedly looked at every frame of the Flowhive that my software was showing swarm status.
The good news is that the software works.
The bad news is ..... the software works!!


Bill

45,467 posts

222 months

Saturday 27th March
quotequote all
dickymint said:
Looks ideal. Which way is South and which way do you approach it?
The photo is looking NW, so the hives will face SE. They'll get the sun in the morning and shade from midday. The bonus is that we can see them from the back door but they're at roof top height so shouldn't be any bother.

Jambo85

2,382 posts

55 months

Tuesday 30th March
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dickymint said:
Last Sunday I hurriedly looked at every frame of the Flowhive that my software was showing swarm status.
The good news is that the software works.
The bad news is ..... the software works!!

You're a lot further south than me but swarm preps in March seems unlikely. The first one you found I reckoned looked like a supercedure cell (centre of a frame) but the sealed one was more swarm-like in location, but again alone and so early in the year is strange. Do you have a decent number of drones about? I'd be worried about a new queen mating successfully this early.

Do I infer correctly that you squashed the cells and are hoping for the best? I'd give them a bit of laying room, if I'm not wrong you had at least 3-4 frames of solid stores, I'd reduce that to two if that were my colony, and replace with drawn comb. If you're short of spare drawn comb as new beekeepers usually are then the frame nearest the camera could be moved in a bit (it's on the far side of a frame of stores so queen is unlikely to lay in it).

Mr Pointy

8,451 posts

126 months

Tuesday 30th March
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Can't you put in a loft extension for them to expand into or doesn't it work like that?

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
Jambo85 said:
dickymint said:
Last Sunday I hurriedly looked at every frame of the Flowhive that my software was showing swarm status.
The good news is that the software works.
The bad news is ..... the software works!!

You're a lot further south than me but swarm preps in March seems unlikely. The first one you found I reckoned looked like a supercedure cell (centre of a frame) but the sealed one was more swarm-like in location, but again alone and so early in the year is strange. Do you have a decent number of drones about? I'd be worried about a new queen mating successfully this early.

Do I infer correctly that you squashed the cells and are hoping for the best? I'd give them a bit of laying room, if I'm not wrong you had at least 3-4 frames of solid stores, I'd reduce that to two if that were my colony, and replace with drawn comb. If you're short of spare drawn comb as new beekeepers usually are then the frame nearest the camera could be moved in a bit (it's on the far side of a frame of stores so queen is unlikely to lay in it).
You're spot on with that appraisal thumbup

Yes very early for these sort of shenanigans. The fully capped queen cell threw me as my initial thought was the next warm day they'd be off even before it hatched which would probably be a suicide mission as the swarm and queen would surely die with these very cold nights. Possibly it was a supersedure cell but even with the capped drone cells in there it would be touch and go for her to mate and worst case scenario my laying queen gets killed.

With my very limited experience and due to lockdown no realistic chance of getting somebody from my association to pop round at short notice I felt I had to do something and quick. So you inferred correctly I squished the cell. If it were next month (and had the spare hive/nucs to hand) I'd have split them there and then. As regards supersedure. Judging by the strength of the colony and lovely brood pattern, no apparent disease etc. i can't fathom out why they're not happy with her - but bees know best I suppose.
Straight after the video I put a a super on with blank frames in the hope to buy some time - no queen excluder so it's now brood and a half. Also as their fondant was virtually all gone a syrup feeder on top.

Many thanks for the advice on the queen not wanting to pass a frame of honey to get to the outer empty frame to lay i missed that and can rectify next time.
On a positive note this afternoon my software has turned to all green lights and no swarm warning thumbup



dickymint

Original Poster:

19,640 posts

225 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
Mr Pointy said:
Can't you put in a loft extension for them to expand into or doesn't it work like that?
You are correct that is how it works thumbup the question is whether or not to exclude the queen from the loft.

Jambo85

2,382 posts

55 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
dickymint said:
You're spot on with that appraisal thumbup

Yes very early for these sort of shenanigans. The fully capped queen cell threw me as my initial thought was the next warm day they'd be off even before it hatched which would probably be a suicide mission as the swarm and queen would surely die with these very cold nights. Possibly it was a supersedure cell but even with the capped drone cells in there it would be touch and go for her to mate and worst case scenario my laying queen gets killed.

With my very limited experience and due to lockdown no realistic chance of getting somebody from my association to pop round at short notice I felt I had to do something and quick. So you inferred correctly I squished the cell. If it were next month (and had the spare hive/nucs to hand) I'd have split them there and then. As regards supersedure. Judging by the strength of the colony and lovely brood pattern, no apparent disease etc. i can't fathom out why they're not happy with her - but bees know best I suppose.
Straight after the video I put a a super on with blank frames in the hope to buy some time - no queen excluder so it's now brood and a half. Also as their fondant was virtually all gone a syrup feeder on top.

Many thanks for the advice on the queen not wanting to pass a frame of honey to get to the outer empty frame to lay i missed that and can rectify next time.
On a positive note this afternoon my software has turned to all green lights and no swarm warning thumbup
What software is it and what sensors is it using? I’ve never used any but it certainly interests me!

I know what you mean about nothing being wrong with the queen to our eyes but I’ve blocked what I later determined to be supercedure a couple of times and the queen failed shortly after - they do seem to know! It can be something visible like a missing leg as they emit one of the pheromones which suppresses the workers urge to build cells through their front feet! In perfect supercedure the old queen wouldn’t get the dunt until the new one is laying but it’s a brave move to leave them to it.

I think I would have done the same thing in the circumstances apart from shuffling brood frames a bit to give them more laying room as previously described.

Great to have the season upon us again, finally saw willow with pollen on it here today smile