I am now a Beekeeper!!

I am now a Beekeeper!!

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Discussion

Jambo85

2,427 posts

57 months

Wednesday 23rd June
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Bill said:
There are 4 busy frames of bees, one of which has some more queen cells on and a couple of the ones we destroyed had quite well developed grubs on.
Oh ok I have maybe been overly pessimistic then! If they’ll accept a new queen then you should be ok!

Bill

45,866 posts

224 months

Sunday 11th July
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Ok... Looks like the new queen has settled in well and there is plenty of laying, grubs and some capped brood. Found her pottering about happily.



https://youtu.be/mV4HgiWuKKQ

We've also had a nuc arrive from our friendly bee bloke, and transferred it over to a newly built hive last week. That's absolutely thriving!



Also found the queen today...


Grr_Boris

123 posts

5 months

Sunday 11th July
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Will be watching his thread with interest - I bought the BBKA Guide to beekeeping the other day and am hoping to arrange to join my local association to get some hands on experience once lockdown is relaxed, with a view to having a couple of hives in our wild flower meadow.

I’m very interested to hear the bad as well as the good!

Nimby

2,912 posts

119 months

Sunday 11th July
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I am no longer a beekeeper!

After 25 years (and far too many swarms) we've just sold all our bees and hives to a nearby honey farmer.

So going cheap - from memory - is all the ancillary gear; stuff like hive tools, smoker, bee brush, queen cage, Thorne 2-frame tangential extractor (takes all frame sizes), course & fine honey filters, honey refractometer, frame wire, home-made warming box, and maybe more I've forgotten. Near Telford, collect only, £50.

Mods - delete if this isn't allowed.

Grr_Boris

123 posts

5 months

Sunday 11th July
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Nimby said:
I am no longer a beekeeper!

After 25 years (and far too many swarms) we've just sold all our bees and hives to a nearby honey farmer.

So going cheap - from memory - is all the ancillary gear; stuff like hive tools, smoker, bee brush, queen cage, Thorne 2-frame tangential extractor (takes all frame sizes), course & fine honey filters, honey refractometer, frame wire, home-made warming box, and maybe more I've forgotten. Near Telford, collect only, £50.

Mods - delete if this isn't allowed.
About 6-12 months too early for me, but that sounds like a bargain!

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,766 posts

227 months

Sunday 11th July
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Bill said:
Ok... Looks like the new queen has settled in well and there is plenty of laying, grubs and some capped brood. Found her pottering about happily.



https://youtu.be/mV4HgiWuKKQ

We've also had a nuc arrive from our friendly bee bloke, and transferred it over to a newly built hive last week. That's absolutely thriving!



Also found the queen today...

Great work there Team Bill. Looks like a Buckfast Queen you bought in and your other maybe a Carniolian.

When you say "newly built hive" is it a bought one or hand made? I ask as there's a lot of burr comb under the bottom of the frame.

Bill

45,866 posts

224 months

Sunday 11th July
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Bought as a flat pack. The frame has come from the nuc. The bee bloke collected them as a swarm and has been looking after them for a while so they'd almost outgrown it. They haven't had an easy time of it as the nuc was blown over at one point in his garden.

Jambo85

2,427 posts

57 months

Sunday 11th July
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Lovely stuff. Queens look nice Bill, have you considered clipping them? You’ll likely thank yourself next May/June if you do.

Mine are getting on fine here too finally - a bit of a clover flow on and I’ve got a lovely big colony in prime condition if the lime trees beside it yield in the next couple of weeks.

Will also be moving a few colonies to the Cairngorms for the ling heather in a couple of weeks.

Good times.

Forgive the Willy waving - clearing top two supers into two fresh empty ones here smile


Bill

45,866 posts

224 months

Sunday 11th July
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It's Mrs Bill's hobby more than mine, and the bee bloke isn't keen apparently. Showed her your picture, response was "fk me!" hehe

Who me ?

7,312 posts

181 months

Sunday 11th July
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Has it been said before ----be very aware- bees do sting when upset.

rxe

5,419 posts

72 months

Sunday 11th July
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Grr_Boris said:
Will be watching his thread with interest - I bought the BBKA Guide to beekeeping the other day and am hoping to arrange to join my local association to get some hands on experience once lockdown is relaxed, with a view to having a couple of hives in our wild flower meadow.

I’m very interested to hear the bad as well as the good!
Before you get too set on the whole idea, see if you can find a beekeeper who is willing to open up a big hive with you. I’ve know a fair few enthusiastic beginners who thought it was a wonderful idea to keep bees, but when confronted with the reality of a hive on “full chat” thought the better of it.

Jambo85

2,427 posts

57 months

Sunday 11th July
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Bill said:
It's Mrs Bill's hobby more than mine, and the bee bloke isn't keen apparently. Showed her your picture, response was "fk me!" hehe
Fair enough. Haha as I said a couple of the boxes are new empty ones smile The big hive are in the process of raising a new queen - I moved their mum to the wee hive a few weeks ago - result is a lot of bees with no young to feed hence a lot of honey!

LooneyTunes

4,648 posts

127 months

Thursday 12th August
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Lots of interesting stuff here already (the tech bits are quite intriguing) but this swarm catching part of the thread caught my eye:

Nimby said:
NMNeil said:
Bill said:
Hmmm, wife went to remove the feeder and it looks like the fickle buggers have left! Still sugar syrup left in the feeder and plenty of comb built, but next to no bees. frown
It's the time of year for them to swarm.
Are there queen cells on any of the frames?
Absconded rather than swarmed if I'm untangling the thread correctly.
We’ve had bees for a few years but have always struggled getting swarms to stay. Tend to get a couple of swarms a year in our garden (usually not ours!) where there are a couple of trees the bees really like.

Catching them is pretty straightforward (we tend to cut the branch and shake in, or shake in directly) but used to have relatively limited success in keeping them. Doing a bit of reading, the swarm’s scouts usually look for enough space and won’t take a home that is too small.

Consensus seems to be that Nuc boxes fail the test (that’s consistent with what we found). A regular brood box would be fine but the bees apparently try to measure the space so if the box is filled with foundationed frames it can seem small and cause them to leave.

As a result, with a late swarm we’ve tried a different approach: middle frames set up to be foundationless with a couple of frames of foundation on the outsides. Once it was clear that this particular swam had decided to stay, we gave them another frame of brood and then eventually (after a month or so) swapped the last empty frames for one with some foundation. Seems to have worked so far, and is the approach I’ll be trying with any we catch next year.

Having tried it with this one, foundationless is proving to be really interesting and the comb hasn’t proved harder to work with than our other hives. Simply made up some DN4 frames but with a strip of wood at the top where the foundation would normally fix (gives the bees something to work from and hopefully reduces the chances of them working out across the hive).

A bit late doing our final extract this year, probably a job for next week.

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,766 posts

227 months

Friday 13th August
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LooneyTunes said:
We’ve had bees for a few years but have always struggled getting swarms to stay. Tend to get a couple of swarms a year in our garden (usually not ours!) where there are a couple of trees the bees really like.

Catching them is pretty straightforward (we tend to cut the branch and shake in, or shake in directly) but used to have relatively limited success in keeping them. Doing a bit of reading, the swarm’s scouts usually look for enough space and won’t take a home that is too small.

Consensus seems to be that Nuc boxes fail the test (that’s consistent with what we found). A regular brood box would be fine but the bees apparently try to measure the space so if the box is filled with foundationed frames it can seem small and cause them to leave.

As a result, with a late swarm we’ve tried a different approach: middle frames set up to be foundationless with a couple of frames of foundation on the outsides. Once it was clear that this particular swam had decided to stay, we gave them another frame of brood and then eventually (after a month or so) swapped the last empty frames for one with some foundation. Seems to have worked so far, and is the approach I’ll be trying with any we catch next year.

Having tried it with this one, foundationless is proving to be really interesting and the comb hasn’t proved harder to work with than our other hives. Simply made up some DN4 frames but with a strip of wood at the top where the foundation would normally fix (gives the bees something to work from and hopefully reduces the chances of them working out across the hive).

A bit late doing our final extract this year, probably a job for next week.
That's a very interesting observation and well worth looking into further. It makes perfect sense if you look at what bees would do without our intervention ie. in nature, hollow trees or (or roof spaces) would be empty! I guess what you're saying is our perception of "space" differs from the bees. Obviously the size of the swarm would dictate whether they stay in a nuc for a while or get transferred straight into a full sized hive (assuming a spare is available).

My last swarm capture about 2 months ago was in a "bait hive" in a tree with just some crumbled up comb and a dab of lemongrass oil. Small swarm so probably a cast) they were definitely not my bees just by their size and colouring. I had no nuc or spare hive available at the time as all was in use. I decided to just leave them there as an experiment to observe what the'yd do and what I could learn from them - long story short they seemed to be doing well, increased in size quite quickly. They even propolised the entrace down to virtually 2 bees in diameter!! Sting in the tail...........they buggered off about 10 days ago hehe I'll post a thread with a few vids of what they got up to when i get chance.

LooneyTunes

4,648 posts

127 months

Friday 13th August
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dickymint said:
Obviously the size of the swarm would dictate whether they stay in a nuc for a while or get transferred straight into a full sized hive (assuming a spare is available).
I’ve had a few bugger off when put in nucs (because that’s all I had) and then moved into a hive. They don’t seem to like getting disturbed before they’re fully settled so, unless they teach me more about what they like and tell me I’m wrong, I think the future plan is going to be straight into full sized hives but tweak the perceived size through the amount of foundationed frames at the edges.

For bait hives I bought a few poly hives (regular size) to use in preference to nucs. If you ratchet strap them properly (and use a long enough strap) then they’re easy enough to raise/lower into/down from trees without tilting or otherwise disturbing too much.

Our plan is to keep increasing the number of hives we have, using nice cedar ones where they’re more visible but polys in the field/woods. It was the first year with any polys and I think, with hindsight, I bought the wrong ones as I didn’t realise that there are some available that are compatible with nationals (and it would be handy to have more flexibility with supers) so going to be buying more and keeping the existing ones for baiting/housing caught swarms.

We’ll see how it goes as it’s a constant learning process with them…

blueST

3,460 posts

185 months

Friday 13th August
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Looking for some advise from experienced keepers. This year we volunteered to host a couple of hives for a local beekeeper. They are about 40m from our house and we never need to go really close to them. However over the year my wife and I have been randomly “attacked” a few times each when out in the garden by seemingly enraged individual bees. They just start dive bombing incessantly, I presume with the intention to sting (my neighbour claims to have been stung), the only solution to leave the area for while. They’re are a bit of a pest to be honest and spoiling our enjoyment of being outdoors, and I’m concerned our lad will get stung when he’s playing.

I’ve spoken to the beekeeper about it, who said he has noticed that one of the hives seems particularly aggressive and is going re-queen it for next year to try and calm the bees down a bit.

I wanted to ask, is it normal to get pestered by the bees like this when there are hives nearby? I’m thinking at the minute I’ll give the hives another 12 months and if it carries on I’ll have ask for them to be removed.

dickymint

Original Poster:

19,766 posts

227 months

Friday 13th August
quotequote all
blueST said:
Looking for some advise from experienced keepers. This year we volunteered to host a couple of hives for a local beekeeper. They are about 40m from our house and we never need to go really close to them. However over the year my wife and I have been randomly “attacked” a few times each when out in the garden by seemingly enraged individual bees. They just start dive bombing incessantly, I presume with the intention to sting (my neighbour claims to have been stung), the only solution to leave the area for while. They’re are a bit of a pest to be honest and spoiling our enjoyment of being outdoors, and I’m concerned our lad will get stung when he’s playing.

I’ve spoken to the beekeeper about it, who said he has noticed that one of the hives seems particularly aggressive and is going re-queen it for next year to try and calm the bees down a bit.

I wanted to ask, is it normal to get pestered by the bees like this when there are hives nearby? I’m thinking at the minute I’ll give the hives another 12 months and if it carries on I’ll have ask for them to be removed.
That'll be "warning bumps" from guard bees, they'll only sting as a last resort. How close to the hives were you getting these bumps? The advice (which I'm sure the beekeeper told you?) is never to walk in front of the entrance as this will set the guards out. I'd suggest something like a 4 foot net fence in front of the hives so their flight path is straight up as opposed to straight at you.

Now that's for a 'normal' happy hive. There are times when a hive will get quite aggressive at the hive or even a fair distance away from it - such as imminent bad weather (they're sensitive to barometric pressure). If they're queenless or rearing a new queen they will also be more aggressive. Your beekeeper is probably thinking along the lines of changing the genetics of the hive by re-queening. My question to him is why not do it now as opposed to waiting for next year? IF he intends to re-queen by killing the queen and letting them rear a new one then it's too late in the season now (doubtful if there's time for a virgin queen to mate) but there is time to kill the queen, wait a few days and introduce a new mated queen but if he hasn't got one it'll cost him to buy one. It'll also cost him time to do it as for all I know he has multiple apiaries to look after.

How many hives and what sort of setting are they?

blueST

3,460 posts

185 months

Friday 13th August
quotequote all
dickymint said:
blueST said:
Looking for some advise from experienced keepers. This year we volunteered to host a couple of hives for a local beekeeper. They are about 40m from our house and we never need to go really close to them. However over the year my wife and I have been randomly “attacked” a few times each when out in the garden by seemingly enraged individual bees. They just start dive bombing incessantly, I presume with the intention to sting (my neighbour claims to have been stung), the only solution to leave the area for while. They’re are a bit of a pest to be honest and spoiling our enjoyment of being outdoors, and I’m concerned our lad will get stung when he’s playing.

I’ve spoken to the beekeeper about it, who said he has noticed that one of the hives seems particularly aggressive and is going re-queen it for next year to try and calm the bees down a bit.

I wanted to ask, is it normal to get pestered by the bees like this when there are hives nearby? I’m thinking at the minute I’ll give the hives another 12 months and if it carries on I’ll have ask for them to be removed.
That'll be "warning bumps" from guard bees, they'll only sting as a last resort. How close to the hives were you getting these bumps? The advice (which I'm sure the beekeeper told you?) is never to walk in front of the entrance as this will set the guards out. I'd suggest something like a 4 foot net fence in front of the hives so their flight path is straight up as opposed to straight at you.

Now that's for a 'normal' happy hive. There are times when a hive will get quite aggressive at the hive or even a fair distance away from it - such as imminent bad weather (they're sensitive to barometric pressure). If they're queenless or rearing a new queen they will also be more aggressive. Your beekeeper is probably thinking along the lines of changing the genetics of the hive by re-queening. My question to him is why not do it now as opposed to waiting for next year? IF he intends to re-queen by killing the queen and letting them rear a new one then it's too late in the season now (doubtful if there's time for a virgin queen to mate) but there is time to kill the queen, wait a few days and introduce a new mated queen but if he hasn't got one it'll cost him to buy one. It'll also cost him time to do it as for all I know he has multiple apiaries to look after.

How many hives and what sort of setting are they?
Thanks, there are 2 hives here on a small field of ours that isn't used for anything else. Keeper has other hives elsewhere, but its a hobby not a job. We are not anywhere near the hives when the bumping happens (at least 10m away and always behind). We know not to go too near and never do. Most of the time there is no problem, but just on the odd day

When he is actually planning to re-queen, I'm not sure, I may have just assumed it would at the end of the year. What he has said is that this one hive in particular on our field has been very aggressive compared to his others and I'm wondering if that's why we are having problems. When tending the hive he tells me they have attacked him very vigorously. He had to leave in his car in his bee suit the other week because they would leave him alone after opening the hive. But obviously he's actually in there disturbing the hive.

What I'm concerned about is whether the bees pestering us at a distance is likely to be improve or if the hives need to go.

LooneyTunes

4,648 posts

127 months

Friday 13th August
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From 10 metres away you wouldn’t know my hives existed. People regularly work in the garden within 2 metres of them without any issues (weeding, cutting grass, without any protection from the bees at all). We had one colony that was both very aggressive and very productive, but a couple of hundred metres from anyone. Even that was ok at 10m.

Keeping hives on other people’s land is a privilege, with rent usually being a jar or two of honey at most. The one you talk about sounds like a pita and isn’t a colony that he should have left in place after getting complaints. I’m surprised he hasn’t re-queened or moved that hive elsewhere and swapped in a quieter one.

Given the issue has persisted, I’d be tempted to suggest to him that he swaps that hive out. It’s is easy to do if his apiaries are well spread out (you generally try to move bees less than three feet or more than three miles) and once he’s done his final extract of honey for the year (usually in Aug give or take) there will be less to shift and he’ll be working round getting them ready for winter anyway.

blueST

3,460 posts

185 months

Friday 13th August
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Thanks, I’ll have another chat. He’s a nice bloke and I know he’s struggled to find places for his hives. Just being a layman I don’t know what’s possible/reasonable or to be expected.