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March 2019 Apiary Diary


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getting towards autumn now...

Visited my Taranaki hives last weekend. As advised, they were fine but getting a bit light on space. Extracted a couple of boxes using my new favourite small scale approach:

1 - a few willing helpers

2 - a couple of uncapping forks and bins to uncap into

3 - a two frame manual plastic extractor

4 - a double sieve over a bucket with a honey gate

 

really pleasant way to spend a bit of time with people, easy cleanup (just need a hose and a bottle brush), and easy jarring/bucketing. Heading up again sometime in March to deal with the rest of the honey sitting on those hives + hang out with whanau. My two year old niece was less useful on the extractor handle and less safe with the uncapping forks than i had anticipated, but she was great at running around with a spoon while exclaiming "honey", and occasionally dipping into a jar that had been extracted before xmas (not willing to risk tutin poisoning that one~!).

 

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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One respected ( late) beekeeper said over here: " Beekeeping isn't hobby, beekeeping isn't occupation, beekeeping is diagnosis"..

It’s been a while since I posted.. However like our bees I have just been getting on with it.   So, this is what keeping bees is about, for a hobbyist. I hesitate to call myself a Beeke

Makes a change to be the one in the naughty spot. Hopefully it will encourage some people to move their hives away from mine.

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Yes they love the Mahindra that's it 😄

 

Tristan i wondered if anyone would pick the slid mats. Truth is, i covered the supers as they went on, pretty much no bees got any honey they could just smell it. Immediately before leaving i roped the load causing the mat to slip, but it was only like that for the time it took me to rope the load and take the pic.

 

Got to the next site and uncovered the boxes thinking there would be a big exodus of trapped bees but to my surprise there were almost no bees in the boxes.

Edited by Alastair
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15 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Yes they love the Mahindra that's it 😄

 

Tristan i wondered if anyone would pick the slid mats. Truth is, i covered the supers as they went on, pretty much no bees got any honey they could just smell it. Immediately before leaving i roped the load causing the mat to slip, but it was only like that for the time it took me to rope the load and take the pic.

 

Got to the next site and uncovered the boxes thinking there would be a big exodus of trapped bees but to my surprise there were almost no bees in the boxes.

yeah thats robbing season for ya. dosen't take long, need to keep them sealed up.

doing sites by yourself, or even with just two, can take so long the bees can get worked up.

 

we made covers for each row of pallets. really helps cut down the bees trying to get in and helps keeps the lids on.

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Went right through my 3 hives this morning and inspected every frame, still plenty of brood (capped and uncapped) but no eggs. Spotted 2 out of the 3 Queens and did alcohol wash.

Hive 1 was 6 mites per 300 bees = 2%  Hive 2 was 7 mites per 300 =2% and Hive 3 was 9 mites per 300 =3%.

 

Not as good as I had hoped since I had seen no visible signs on any bees but have placed staples (a first for me) and will inspect again in about a month?

When I will probably reduce to just one box each for the Winter.

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We have  just had to have the nicest days of the year and I have been home with man fllu . Back into it tomorrow so you will have some peace from me.

Duncan you absolutely can overwinter hives in one box but I personally believe that two boxes is better both because you can leave more stores and thus leave them longer without any interference over winter and also because they have more stored pollen which can be very useful when we have one of our not that uncommon filthy springs.

 

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Thanks for that John, I reduced to one box last year and they did really well but having said that I am still on a huge learning curve so other factors may well have been involved.

I left plenty of stores but found that the girls actually never stopped bringing honey and pollen in so didn't need that much.

One of my 3 hives is my first ever split so looking forward to seeing how it over winters.

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From your post I am picking you are in town where you can get fresh pollen honey all winter so single stories will do fine but if it was me I would still leave them two high . This is an area with a lot of discussion and there is probably not just one correct answer.

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We are rural but have a 5.5 acre bush and garden oasis in the midst of dairy and kiwifruit country, wife is a fanatical gardener and always tries to choose bee friendly plants.

 

I checked back in my diary since my last post and it seems that the main reason I went to one box last year was that by spring time they had all moved up to the top box anyway and were just wasting valuable energy trying to keep an empty box up to temperature, I had 2 x FD boxes then and now have FD bottom and 3/4 D top and am working towards going all 3/4

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8 minutes ago, DuncanCook said:

We are rural but have a 5.5 acre bush and garden oasis in the midst of dairy and kiwifruit country, wife is a fanatical gardener and always tries to choose bee friendly plants.

 

I checked back in my diary since my last post and it seems that the main reason I went to one box last year was that by spring time they had all moved up to the top box anyway and were just wasting valuable energy trying to keep an empty box up to temperature, I had 2 x FD boxes then and now have FD bottom and 3/4 D top and am working towards going all 3/4

they don't keep empty space up to temperature, and warmth rises etc. If they were two boxes entering autumn and had used enough supplies left on to be only in the top box then it sounds like it was a good call to give that second box of stores! I have overwintered in all sorts of arrangements, but two-three 3/4 boxes is an arrangement i recommend

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I don't have to make the call yet as both boxes have  a mix of brood and stores but I suppose that if they do move up to the top again it will be a good opportunity to replace bottom boxes with 3/4 D which is my ultimate aim, I think I would be quite comfortable with 2 x 3/4 D boxes over winter.

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5 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

Went right through my 3 hives this morning and inspected every frame, still plenty of brood (capped and uncapped) but no eggs. Spotted 2 out of the 3 Queens and did alcohol wash.

Hive 1 was 6 mites per 300 bees = 2%  Hive 2 was 7 mites per 300 =2% and Hive 3 was 9 mites per 300 =3%.

 

Not as good as I had hoped since I had seen no visible signs on any bees but have placed staples (a first for me) and will inspect again in about a month?

When I will probably reduce to just one box each for the Winter.

 

I have a similar plan but more varroa. I inspecting every 1-2 weeks, primarily because I don’t trust my sugar shakes and have a hive that looks keen on swarming.

 

I’ve found that the biggest variation in varroa is due to my shaking technique, so by doing more I get a better idea. I’m too soft for alcohol washes.

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"I’m too soft for alcohol washes. "

 

Having bought a Lifestyle Block on retiring after spending most of my working life in the building trade I was truly shocked by the amount of killing necessary, possums, rabbits, rats ,mice and now bees and that is not counting domestic animals, but like you @cBank I found sugar shakes unreliable so ultimately some deaths now benefit the bees long term.

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27 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Huh ?  Surely not 

 

What are you seeing ?

 

Cups with eggs. Bottom of frames in 2nd brood box (no supers). Nice brood pattern, nice looking queen but at end of second season. It’s looked to swarm a few times and was pretty bad at the end of last season too. My black mongrels.

Edited by cBank
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2 minutes ago, cBank said:

 

Cups with eggs. Bottom of frames in 2nd brood box (no supers). Nice brood pattern, nice looking queen but at end of second season. It’s looked to swarm a few times and was pretty bad at the end of last season too. My black mongrels.

Not impossible , and that's a reasonable interpretation of what you are seeing .

 

Perhaps they are desperately trying to supercede and are trying to get the better of you by rearing extra cells in the hope you miss one while removing them.

 

Pure speculation on my part 

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51 minutes ago, cBank said:

 

I have a similar plan but more varroa. I inspecting every 1-2 weeks, primarily because I don’t trust my sugar shakes and have a hive that looks keen on swarming.

 

I’ve found that the biggest variation in varroa is due to my shaking technique, so by doing more I get a better idea. I’m too soft for alcohol washes.

Shove a pile of OA towels or something in and forget about testing.

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I posted a photo here a few weeks back as I wondered if it was supercedure, but the nice solid frames of brood are apparently inconsistent with a hive trying to superceed. It’s still at 10+ brood frames, all packed. I do wonder though. And I’m sure they are intentionally hiding the cells in tricky spots to mess with me.

Edited by cBank
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Yes those staples causing a rethink on how to manage hives.  I’m used to Varroa, nosema, PMS, ........ now all I’ve got is pumping hives full of bees and I’ve got to figure a way to slow them down.  Leaving lots and lots of food on will mean either making splits in the spring or  swarms ++ help!!!! I’m trying to down size.

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