28 June 2007

I will miss my bees

One of the regional Bee Inspectors, David Rudland, called yesterday, and by crikey it's impressive watching someone who really knows their craft.

In the time it takes me simply to take the lid off, he was down into the brood nest, checking cells, pulling out wax moths and deformed larvae... you name it, he did it. The entire inspection took about an hour, looking principally for American and European Foul Brood. The hive was clear, although he did find wax moths, bald brood and varroa.

The next part is to move the colony into an apiary; I will miss my bees.

William David Rudland (February, 1839January 10, 1912) was a British Protestant missionary to China with the China Inland Mission. He was one of the pioneer missionaries that were recruited in the early years of the agency by Hudson Taylor. Serving over forty years in China, Rudland translated the New Testament into the Taizhou vernacular (a romanized version), and published the work at the printing press that he operated with a native helper. In the year 1906 alone, Rudland's press (that had been brought over with the Lammermuir Party in 1866) printed 1000 Psalms with references, 500 copies of Genesis, 2000 Chinese character tracts, and 20,000 other Chinese character books.[1]

26 June 2007

Bee inspection

Bee inspection tomorrow, prior to moving the little buzzers into an apiary away from the garden. Having swarmed and cast into two different neighbours' gardens *and* with Number One Junior Beekeeper due to pop out in ten days or so, move they must.

It's a great shame that I won't be able to gaze at them going about their business any longer.

20 June 2007

Bees between the boxes and the lifts

Checked the hive, very briefly in a dry moment during a thunderstorm. I managed to get as far as the top two supers before the heavens parted.

From the ground up, currently the hive is composed of a brood and super, queen excluder, then three supers. The top box has some bees and some foundation being drawn. The next super has full frames of uncapped honey, covered by bees.

The hive was clean, if a bit damp. The only oddity was the number of bees between the boxes and the lifts (it's a WBC). Hmmm. I hope the little buzzers aren't thinking of swarming again!
Pic from http://www.thorne.co.uk/, who supplied my (excellent) hive

15 June 2007

Did you end up requeening then?

Mark posted a comment asking if I had re-queened the colony.

No. After the second swarm (the cast), we left a single queen cell only. This queen must have emerged and mated successfully, as the hive is now thriving again. There is new brood in a good regular pattern, and the number of bees is increasing.


04 June 2007

If I had a hammer...

Discovered that it's actually easier to put frames together if you use grippers rather than hammers with the nails. The wood is so soft (and sticky) that it's simple to place the pins and then squeeze everything into place in a nice, tight fit.

03 June 2007

Touch and go

Checked the hive this morning after a long break, caused principally with poor weather coinciding with weekends.

The brood is still relatively small - five frames only, and the half-brood on top ditto. The end frames have not been drawn out at all. While there is good, regular brood being laid and fresh larvae in the cells, it looks fairly touch and go that the colony will survive.

They swarmed (and cast) during a very hot spell, followed by a rotten two or three weeks. At a guess, there might be only 7,000 bees.

And honey? My target is 10kg... The first super is fully drawn comb now, with some capped cells. At a guess, around 25 per cent of the cells are complete. The top super is absolutely untouched (pictured), and yet these frames were inserted a month ago!

Summary: don't let the bees swarm!