Urban Bees ran another beekeeping taster course to a full house. It was another informative and busy day with some really keen participants. The weather was just good enough to see some bees flying. This was our first introduction to beekeeping course of the year.
A few bees walking around the top of the frames. I am giving them a few clean brood frames form the bees to populate.
Look at the little claws on the tarsals.
Here is a brood box with dummy sections on the side of 5 frames.
I put this on top of a colony to get the bees of the old comb and onto the new clean comb.
It has been a long time coming but the sun is out and the mercury has risen giving our bees the opportunity to get out into the fresh air work those muscles.
We have been told about colonies not coming through the winter so I was worried about our hives but so far the ones in Battersea are all well and the hive in Wallington is amazingly strong. 10 frames of bees. Don’t understand how that can be but there it was. I gave them a new brood with new foundation and some drawn out comb. Hopefully the queen will move up into the clean parts. Then I can isolate her with a queen excluder for 3 weeks when all the brood has hatched. Then I can get rid of all the old comb and the diseases that might be associated with it.
That’s the plan.
It such a great sight. Pollen on the back legs of the bees. Even better when it is Feb and only 10 degress. The pollen was a very brigh white colour. Not a huge amount coming back but at least they were finding something. Does anyone know what it might be. My pollen chart says Hazel pollen is white and the http://tinyurl.com/c9todd says maple is light. But if anyone out there knows what pollen my bees are collecting I would love you to leave a comment.
After harvesting a super of honey I gave the bees back the empty wet frames for them to lick clean. I did this first thing this morning which sent the bees into a frenetic buzz looking for the source of this amazing food. This meant loads of foragers went looking for it outside the hive. It took them about an hour to realise that the food was not outside the hive but inside the hive above the clearing board. During that hour I had hundreds (or so it seemed) of bees checking out the porch, kitchen, lounge and garden.
Must remember to only do this operation at night when the bees are confined to the hive.
We had the BBC Newsnight crew over today to film us talking about A World without Bees and they wanted us to open the hive to get some shots of urban beekeepers. I thought we would just go through the motions and open the super and see some honey and the brood that I put up there last week. When we opened the hive we saw brood in all stages in the super. This means that there is a laying queen upstairs – again. I don’t understand why and how she is getting through the queen excluder. Or maybe the hive has two queens. We took away the queen excluder and I will check on things on Friday.
It is all a bit strange.
Newsnight will be aired on the 18th maybe.
After yesterday’s inspection from the lovely man from the Central Science Laboratory it was discovered we had a drone laying queen in the WBC hive therefore the colony was on it way to certain death. Gladly though I had a nuc with a small colony of bees that I had recovered from a secondary swarm a few weeks earlier and was therefore able to use to give new life to the failing WBC hive.
To combine the two hives I took all the contents of the nuc including the queen and placed them into a super on top of the brood box of the WBC separated by a sheet of newspaper. (I had previously taken out the drone laying queen). Overnight the queens pheremone will spread throughout the combined colonies and hopefully the inhabitants will then happily live side by side. The bees will tear away the paper until the workers are free to move between the two sets of frames.
This morning I had a look at the entrance and everything seemed to be normal. No fighting or dead bees.
Tomorrow I will find the queen and put her in the downstairs brood box and give them a feed. Hopefully there is enough time for the colony to expand in numbers before the autumn. Cutting it fine.
Battersea – I was expecting a super full of honey but instead I got a queen in the super. At least she is a laying queen proven by the brood over a couple of frames.
There didn’t seem to be many bees though so I reckon they swarmed when we were away on holiday.
I replaced a couple of the empty brood frames with the two of the super frames that had the brood on them and placed the queen back downstairs. Leaving the hive with just one super.