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Trevor Gillbanks

October 2018 Apiary Diary

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3 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

So, I found two hive superseding yesterday - my worry was that the hives will interpret it as swarming:

 

1. Hive 3 - I found a skinny queen, lots of eggs (but not excessive) and a virgin. Caught both queens, then went through hive. It is a strong hive, but not as big as I would expect right now, presumably because of the supersedure. Two boxes of bees, only six frames of brood in all stages, and no other q cells. So, with some trepidation I put it back together and released both queens back.

 

2. Hive 2 - Building up well in two boxes. It is running a bit late as it struggled with disease/varroa over winter. But I caught a nice plump queen and found two ripe cells. So, again worried about them misinterpreting this as swarming (has happened to me before), I made a four frame split with the old queen and took it away, then put the hive back together but squished one cell, leaving only one to do her thing. Fingers crossed. Will most likely merge the split back in a month.

 

Unfortunately, I have been away for three weeks so don't have my queen castle up and running, so no spare queens or cells. I'm a bit concerned that these two hives won't produce a honey crop...

 

Let me know how you would have done this differently.

Sounds good to me ?

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

@CHCHPaul i have left one cell and it was empty.

i now pay close attention to the cells the bees are paying attention to.

some cells they ignore and some have two or three bees fussing over them.

not sure what that means , it could mean there's a bee inside.

Ah, that’s why he cunningly put the old queen in a nuc, just in case it doesn’t work ?

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I made up 35 nucs with queens hatching on the 4th. Had a peek into a few of them today and they are completely honey bound, wall to wall. I did see mated queens, so I'll have to add a box and lift some frames I think.

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Count yourself lucky, a good portion of my hives don't have any honey at all yet. Not to mention that almost every hive is furiously building swarm cells, gonna be super busy over next few weeks ?

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Tried something I didn't try before, at a site with a late flow but very strong hives, around 5  weeks ago some were building swarm cells, so I killed all but one cell and the old queen per hive, thinking, they can't swarm now plus I get a new queen. Interesting experiment, i thought.

 

Yesterday I get a call, several swarms hanging in trees, I take a look, and sure enough those hives have requeened with the cells I left in, then didn't take but a couple of weeks after the new queen is laying to build new queen cells and then swarm anyway.

Edited by Alastair
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5 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Tried something I didn't try before, at a site with a late flow but very strong hives, around 5  weeks ago some were building swarm cells, so I killed all but one cell and the old queen per hive, thinking, they can't swarm now plus I get a new queen. Interesting experiment, i thought.

 

Yesterday I get a call, several swarms hanging in trees, I take a look, and sure enough those hives have requeened with the cells I left in, then didn't take but a couple of weeks after the new queen is laying to build new queen cells and then swarm anyway.

Sometimes you just can't win.

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4 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Tried something I didn't try before, at a site with a late flow but very strong hives, around 4 1/2 weeks ago some were building swarm cells, so I killed all but one cell and the old queen per hive, thinking, they can't swarm now plus I get a new queen.

 

Yesterday I get a call, several swarms hanging in trees, I take a look, and sure enough those hives have requeened with the cells I left in, then swarmed anyway.

I like to leave them standing eggs only for this reason.. and remove capped brood.. by the time they have emergency queened themselves they seem to have changed their mindset.. usually anyway. 

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Good idea Stoney, but what do you do with the capped brood?

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I looked in the hive I had squashed the queen when marking her .

I had taken a nuc off  with the   swarm cells and I thought I had left a cell behind .

However there was only one cell in the hive and she hatched while I was there .

Exactly 16 days from when I squashed her mum .

 

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hoping to check the hives properly this weekend again... but had to to an emergency check on tuesday night as Yet again managed to have a swarm land in my back yard... weird how they keep coming to me! and its nice how they always land about waist height.

So I quickly threw it in an empty box and waited while they trooped on in.

 

I was about 90% sure it must have been from one of my hives as three of them have just grown huge. So I had a look at the massive one I suspected (the only one I didnt take brood frames from 3 weeks ago) but no... still heaps of bees in there and lots hanging out the front (it was a warm day), so I checked again really carefully and not one queen cell to be seen, new or old/torn down. Crazy stuff... removed 4 frames of bees and brood (really nice solid brood as well) this time and added to the neighbour one again, which although improving could use another boost... and added another honey box, as the other one was chocka.

Figured I should quick check the other two hives that I had removed frames from, but again, no less bees there than last time, more probably and definately more honey already.

 

sooo back to the swarm... what to do about it? I dont need another hive (I really dont!), so my last hive (which was a swarm from last year)  has been weak... im surprised it made it through winter but it did, maybe cos it needed only a bit of stores. So I figured lets just join them together and see what happens. The weak hive had brood which I find always keeps a swarm put... so I opened it up and swapped boxes, put the brood one on the bottom and empty one on top and poured in the bees. I figure they will either stay or leave again.. the queens will sort it out between them and I probably wont lose anything by combining them.

 

Yesterday I had a look from the outside and there is definitely more bees coming and going, so i'm quietly optimistic.

 

...and the massive hive is not hanging out anymore!

 

Oh and there is several huge yellow rape-seed paddocks flowering not far away, I figure thats the flow thats got them all working hard. That bright yellow is very impressive, everytime I see it im amazed

 

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4 minutes ago, Rashika said:

Oh and there is several huge yellow rape-seed paddocks flowering not far away, I figure thats the flow thats got them all working hard. That bright yellow is very impressive, everytime I see it im amazed

 

 

You should probably check if it is rape or something else such as mustard etc.

If it is rape and your bees are feasting on it you may want to extract it very quickly before it goes rock solid in your combs.

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20 minutes ago, DeeGeeBee said:

 

You should probably check if it is rape or something else such as mustard etc.

If it is rape and your bees are feasting on it you may want to extract it very quickly before it goes rock solid in your combs.

Pretty sure its rapeseed, thats mostly what they grow around here. Generally I leave it for the bees to eat and harvest the clover when that starts.

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The hive I saw the queen hatch in yesterday has just swarmed .

It must have had a virgin still in it .

Why didnt one queen kill the other .

They had all night .

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Well I caught the swarm and its going in a corflute box with wooden frames .

Maybe they did not like plastic .

And the nuc is going to the other side of the bay .

Hopefully that will confuse it into staying put 

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Just having morning tea when I heard the shrill swarm hum. I'd just managed to hive yesterday's lot and thought this was an afterthought. They were hanging on a saw horse next to a hive with a virgin queen, so far so good. Then I spotted a cluster on the ground and dug around with my finger. There was a very dead queen, she looked to have been snapped by a bird. I didn't really know what was going on so I threw her little corpse back into the hive. Quite a few bees followed her in but not all, there were two more clusters in the plum tree next to the saw horse. I banged those into a box and straight away spotted a mated queen, I caged her and put them into a new hive and decided I should probably leave bee keeping to the experts. By then Harry the dog had eaten my morning tea.

Edited by Apihappy
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I never had swarming last season like I have this .

Has anyone else noticed an increase this spring .

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I’ve caught 5 that’s 2 more than last year so far but it’s drying out fast here we need some rain.  Unfortunately don’t see any on the horizon so will have to start watering the garden.  Had a fair bit of frost damage on various plants especially the walnut trees over the last week, during the day were having summer temperatures ?

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As we toiled away today plonking boxes on hives, dreaming of the soon to be consumed jugs of Dr Speights down the alehouse and the Main Man doing the strip tease in the trees as he loosed off his winter polyprop  ..... I got to thinking of swarming, and of hpw it's all about the forward planning. We know we have sites that are forward, those little microclimates where the bees thrive, and those a kilometere or so up the road where they struggle in the the late frosts or wind ... and I guess this is where coming to know your territory comes into play, for those early sites are the ones where you break the bees down to the bare minimum so that at this time of year they are just hitting the second brood box  with no risk of taking off before the main honey flow.

We worked a yard first thing this morning and pulled out four nucs a hive.  It's a lovely site in a sheltered gully where the Kowhai is starting to blossom. We knocked the bees back to two frames of brood and expect to pull off three boxes of something later in the season.

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I went to my site today and low and behold the bees have changed from honey dew to quintinia.Drawing wax like crazy.Great to see the different colour honeys in the hive.The one that is bringing the most is a black one.Then queen is quite small so not using a queen excluder as I reckon she will get through and no sign of swarm cells

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October is hard on the body round here, himself just asked me if I wanted a day off! Got a market on Sunday, hocking soaps so I guess having Saturday off ain't an option!

 

 

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Hard on my old body too. Swarm checking around 70 hives a day, 6 days a week. Leg muscles a bit sore when I crawled out of bed this morning. ?

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9 hours ago, Oma said:

I’ve caught 5 that’s 2 more than last year so far but it’s drying out fast here we need some rain.  Unfortunately don’t see any on the horizon so will have to start watering the garden.  Had a fair bit of frost damage on various plants especially the walnut trees over the last week, during the day were having summer temperatures ?

I did see on TV weather that your area was having a continental climate.

Is it usual to have these late frosts .?

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9 hours ago, Bighands said:

I went to my site today and low and behold the bees have changed from honey dew to quintinia.Drawing wax like crazy.Great to see the different colour honeys in the hive.The one that is bringing the most is a black one.Then queen is quite small so not using a queen excluder as I reckon she will get through and no sign of swarm cells

Have you tried the quintinia honey .

Is it bitter like I have read .

Bees are busy in the one tree I know of on my place .

And busy in the kamahi .

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

Hard on my old body too. Swarm checking around 70 hives a day, 6 days a week. Leg muscles a bit sore when I crawled out of bed this morning. ?

i just about need to go ice my hands. 

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I just checked the morning mail.

The Beekeeper magazine was there. I was thinking that I needed to get the wheelbarrow out to bring it into the house.

Just over 1 kg in weight.

350 gm for the magazine.

660 gms of advertising.

 

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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