Wasps around Beehive

Guard Bee Defending Hive Entrance from Wasp

Guard Bee Defending Hive Entrance from Wasp

Wasps are a well known pest around bees and over this season I have seen this first hand. Wasps continuously attempting to find ways into the hive and also predating on weak bees and pupae on the ground in-front of the hive. Recently, when I stopped feeding and the weather turned bad, the bees started evicting drones and throwing out pupae. The wasps were all over them as they were dumped or driven from the hive. It was not a pleasant sight – but I guess that’s the way nature works. Continue reading

Bees Throwing Out Pupae From Hive

Pulling Out a Pupa from Hive

Pulling Out a Pupa from Hive

Its early September and I have noticed bees beginning to throw out pupae on a regular basis. These are then being predated by waiting wasps. its not a pleasant sight. Some of the pupae are clearly still alive.

I am not sure what has caused this behaviour but slightly colder weather coincided with me stopping feeding recently and this may have been the catalyst.

My other concern is that there is an increasing varroa mite count. Currently the drop is around 30-50 per day. So I might be seeing hygenic behaviour by the bees or the beginning of serious problem. Continue reading

Mid August Bee Hive Inspection

Frame 11- Pollen and Honey

Frame 11- Pollen and Honey

Today I completed a full inspection of my bee hive. I introduced the package two and a half months ago at the beginning of June. I was keen to have a look at what was going on as I had re-started feeding at the beginning of August to encourage the bees to go up into the new super. Since then they have been sucking up the syrup – but refusing to start on the super! Continue reading

Package Bees Ten Weeks On & Summer Dearth

Bee Collecting Blue Pollen

Bee Collecting Blue Pollen

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

Package Bees After Three Weeks

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.

  1. Remove the follower board and insert the remaining three frames.
  2. Remove the frame feeder and stop feeding.
  3. Check the status of the supercedure queen cell I spotted last week.
  4. Carry out a photographic frame by frame inspection
Worker Bee and Drone Brood

Worker and Drone Brood

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

Package Bees Two Weeks On

Wild Flowers For Bees

June Wild Flowers

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:

  1. Eggs or Brood on the comb as proof the queen was laying
  2. Confirmation that all the comb was being built straight
  3. General progress in terms of any stores, so I could guage when to stop feeding Continue reading

Bee Package Arrival and Care

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!

bee package arrival

3ib Package Of 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