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About this blog

Follow the trials and tribulations of a down on his luck, kicked to the gutter beekeeper as he tries to take a few (is that more than 2?) nucleus colonies through winter in the hopes of lifting his family out of poverty in spring with the hopes of a bounteous season of pollination contracts, Queen rearing and honey harvesting. Will the bees respond to his caressing words and whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the stubborn queens that resides within the palaces of “5 frame nuc box”. Subscribe today and get regular updates to fill in your long cold winter nights of boredom. ?

Entries in this blog

 

21/9/18 Colony update

Not totally bulging at the seams but definitely growing. This is the 2 frame nuc that I have been feeding protein substitutes and sugar syrup all winter. They finally graduated to a second brood box today. By the End of October I think they will be ready to split and add a mated queen to The queenless half. Bam! doubled a hive count instantly and plenty of time to build up for the summer honey flow.

dansar

dansar

 

7/9/18 Colony update

The drawn empty frame I checkerboarded a week or so back has now been populated with eggs and newly hatched larvae, honey and pollen stored as well. There is lots of natural pollen coming in now and the bees have mostly left the pollen patties alone.  As the colony grows there are a couple of older brood frames that will be cycled out to make way for new frames.

dansar

dansar

 

26/8/18 Update

Inspection of the nucleus colony today was pivotal in the development of this colony. The queen had all but run out of space to lay. 5 frames had about 80% coverage by attached bees and more out foraging.  Rather than potentially stalling the egg laying through having no empty cells To lay in I made the decision to transfer the colony to a 10 frame box.  Whilst transfering I placed an empty drawn frame 2 frames in from the internal feeder with the thought of providing a new brood frame for the queen to start laying in. This stimulation process has proved to be effective in growing a small colony over winter and is something I will look to replicate next winter with more colonies. I will keep posting in this blog throughout the season as the colony grows and moves in to honey production.   

dansar

dansar

 

19/8/18 update

Colony is still expanding. Brood area is increasing significantly. Still shot gun pattern although every cell has either a pupae, larvae or egg in it. Some dodgy cappings but all inspection of larvae, pupae come up negative for AFB. If the laying pattern doesn’t improve by October this queen will be culled and replaced with a new season queen. Which is a shame as the current queen is an April 2018 mated queen.  

dansar

dansar

 

5/8/18 update

Just to show progress. Today I had a quick peak under the lid, now close to 5 frames covered. Photos show 7th June and 5th August. Heading in the right direction. 

dansar

dansar

 

25/7/18 Update

Getting colonies sorted today for a sale I made, so while in the back yard I checked on the nucleus colonies I have been building up over the past few months.   Nucleus 1 is now covering 4 frames and has 2 frames with brood on both sides, a total coverage of about 1.5 FD frames.  This is excellent and the colony is heading in the right direction. By the end of August I reckon I will be moving them over to a 10 frame box.   Nucleus 2 has done extremely well and today was used to make up a larger colony with the addition of Bees and brood frames from a very strong 2 box colony ( it had Drones in Drone cells and 6 frames of capped worker brood).   Another Nucleus colony that has been part of the experiment was used to requeen a queenless colony. This was done with newspaper over the bottom queenless colony then a queen excluder. The plan is to have the two colonies combine but give the queen a bit of protection until they become a happy family.

dansar

dansar

 

13/7/18 Progress report

Overcast afternoon. Venturing out to the back yard recovering from a migraine.  Over the past month or so I have been feeding a couple of nucleus colonies 1:1 syrup with seaweed extract added. Also 1/3 of a Megabee premade patty. Nucleus 1 has continued to increase the brood area and there is a continuous emerging of new Bees now, and in turn the population is noticeably getting larger to care for the corresponding increase in brood. I added 1 Apivar strip after adding some bees from a queenless colony that had missed the treatment round. A few dead varroa were noted on the floor of the nuc box.   Nucleus 2 has been treated the same way. This colony started the process with no brood. The colony is smaller than Nuc 1 however the queen started laying with the addition of 1:1 syrup and later pollen substitute was added. Brood area and newly emerged Bees have seen this colony also noticeably increase in size.   Both nucs have brood areas that, when emerged will start to have a significant impact on how the colony functions. They will be getting to a point of criticle mass and will continue to increase in numbers very quickly.   looking good so far - Nuc 1   Nuc 2    

dansar

dansar

 

29/6/18 Progress report

Nucs are going OK with 1-1 1/2 frames of brood and some older brood starting to emerge. Today I topped up syrup and added another 1/2 of a MegaBee pattie. Brood area is increasing in all the hives. Nuc #1 has some dodgy looking capping so I have inspected those and a few more cells. All is OK so far but I will remain alert the this in future inspections.

dansar

dansar

 

Progress 16/06/18

OK so a quick look in the nucs today. Overcast grey skies but relatively warm so lots of bees were out flying and good amounts of pollen on the returning bees. Colours ranged from vivid orange, yellow and a small amount of white.   Todays task was to add about 500ml - 1 litre of 1:1 syrup to each nuc feeder and have a look to see if brood rearing has increased.   Both nucs are chomping through the Megabee pattie and all the syrup add last week has on the whole been consumed with a small amount evident as freshly stored syrup in the empty comb.   #1 nuc has gone through nearly half of the pattie and the other nuc which has a smaller population is consuming it from underneath between the frames. Surface area of brood in #1 nuc has doubled since last inspection. Nice fat larvae lying in plenty of feed. Fresh eggs obvious in cells as well. Even saw a fairly young Drone, perhaps with sufficient food available they are willing to care for a Drone or two.   Nuc #2 although it is a smaller population has suprised me with a brood area nearly quadrupled since last inspection. Lots of eggs and larvae ranging from 3 days to a week old.   Pretty pleased with how how this is tracking. Stimulating the queens to start laying more seems to have been a success, now we just need to maintain it.      

dansar

dansar

 

Day zero

It’s 8.58pm and I am sitting by the fire. To date I have added a pollen patty to all of the 5 frame nucs and fed them copious amounts of syrup to get at least 3 frames of feed in the boxes. So far this has worked. There are a few 3 frame nucs that are house in 3 way boxes. They, apart from only 3 frames of bees are looking happy and the combined warmth from sharing a common hive body seems to be helping them. Each of these 3 way nucs has a 500ml container sitting above on the hive mat. This feeds each colony over a week or two. I will be keeping a close eye on them and look to move them in to 5 frame boxes closer to spring.   Plans are to take pics of the colonies where possible. I will probably focus on 1 or 2 for the photos to show progress or lack of progress where applicable.

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dansar

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