At the beginning of June after much delay due to the poor spring I managed to install my first package of bees. Its now August and quite a few things have happened. The good news is that the brood box is full with twelve frames mostly complete. The bees are busy bringing in pollen and there are some honey stores but the bees have stopped making real progress in terms of expanding the amount of comb. I added a super over two weeks ago and they have still not started building comb there, they have propalised all the joints but no comb. Yesterday, I re-intoduced a frame feeder into the super to encourage comb building. My primary goal this season is to go into the winter with a strong colony, so I’m not worried about a bit of syrup in the supers – I’ll put that into splits next year. I was very pleased to return next day to find the super busy with bees and swarming all over the feeder ( no signs of comb yet ) but what surprised me was that the feeder was virtually empty! They had sucked it dry! Continue reading
Its three weeks since I did my first install of a package of bees with a buckfast queen. Today i was going to make further inspection with a view to carrying out the following operations.
- Remove the follower board and insert the remaining three frames.
- Remove the frame feeder and stop feeding.
- Check the status of the supercedure queen cell I spotted last week.
- Carry out a photographic frame by frame inspection
During the inspection last week it was very difficult to make out the worker brood clearly but it was quite different on this occasion, There ws substantially more comb and worker brood was very evident on most frames. There was drone brood at the base of several of the frames and most also included capped honey and some pollen. I had hoped that at least some of the frames would have been completely filled but they all still had some way to go. This may be because I inserted two frames last week, one frame went into the middle of the brood nest. Continue reading
So 2 weeks ago I installed my package of bees and since then they have been busy, the weather has been fine, there is plenty of nectar and pollen and I have been topping up the frame feeder regularly. I have of course gone in and had a quick check to see that the comb is being built straight and that everything is going OK but not had a thourgh frame by frame look.
So last Monday, I got kitted out, lit the smoker and went in to do my first real inspection. I was looking for the following:
- Eggs or Brood on the comb as proof the queen was laying
- Confirmation that all the comb was being built straight
- General progress in terms of any stores, so I could guage when to stop feeding Continue reading
I’m going to use this post to diarise the first few days observations of my newly installed package of bees. Continue reading
The poor spring has meant that the package of bees I ordered was delayed but the last couple of days have been warm and dry and I was not surprised to received the great news that my bees were at last ready for collection. So on this glorious day in June we set off to pick up our bees from B.S. HoneyBees in Gloucestershire and on the way back my young daughter Sarah bravely agreed to share the back of the car with the bees!
So now I am the proud owner of approximately 12000 bees (3ib package) and a buckfast queen and the adventure begins. Because the bees were only packaged 24hrs before there is a danger that the queen will not yet have been fully accepted by the workers. Normally this is not a problem because standard practice is to hang the queen in her cage between two frames in the brood box, whilst the workers get on building comb, settling in and getting used to the queen who eventually gets released when the workers eat through the candy stopper on her cage. Continue reading
The Bees are in trouble and my resolution for 2013 has been to start bee-keeping and do my bit for the bees. I’ve been interested in honey bees for years but never quite found the time or money to get going until this year.
My first national hive has arrived and is in place – a 14×12 brood box with two supers built by peak hives in red cedar. Another hive based on all mediums is on order and should arrive next month. All I need now is the bees!
As i am intending to be completely foundationless and treatment free, I have ordered a package of bees rather than a NUC. When they arrive my first challenge will be to get them to 1) stay and 2) build comb in the right place! However, the package has been delayed due to the poor weather. Still I have been busy while waiting for the bees – building frames, familiarising myself with all the equipment and genning up on what I need to do.