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Trevor Gillbanks

September 2019 Apiary Diary

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cracked the lids in a three hive wellington apiary today for the first time since May. Season must be underway.

All had plenty of stores and nectar coming in.

One was a little light on bees and no brood starting - added a couple of brood frames just in case.

Other two are just starting to boom, only a couple of weeks from needing another box.

12 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

It's v important for beginners to find a good club and attend.

I'd say it's a good idea for most people, not for all though, and far from essential.

 

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I put a frame of  capped brood from my strongest hive into my weak one today.

My strong hive has more to spare but I wanted to make sure there were enough bees in the weak hive to cover the brood so I will build up this hive gradually .

The  weak hive queen will be replaced this spring .

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There are quite a few reasons for hives to go weak and as often as not there is nothing wrong with the Queen. I had a hive last spring that was a queen and about 20 bees and I swapped it with a really strong neighbouring hive. The hive went on to be one of the top producers in the apiary. Not something I would breed from but no need to replace in a hurry. Really old Queens will sometimes still lay good-looking frames of brood but just not enough and they definitely need replacing.

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Maintenance is key, today I scraped back some old rotten wooded rimmed excluders and replaced the rims with plastic ones, rats I was 5 rims shy

I gave the forks a bit of a look at and oil top up. Even on a hangover day sxxt still gets done. 

IMG_20190908_170313-2340x3120.jpg

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On 5/09/2019 at 8:33 PM, mischief said:

I had to move my hive around to get it ready for opening up the main entrance again for the new season.

The bees had a a hard time figuring out things were which gave me time to count what was going in. One had red pollen which I thought odd seeing as flax isnt flowering yet- might be dead nettle ...2 out of 3 had either yellow or orange pollen. I wound up opening up the main entrance ahead of schedule to try to lessen the traffic jam.

 

Almost got hive # 2 ready- just got the roof to sort out. This one is for a Beequip Jumbo deep sized frame.

 

My main problem right now is that my 32 frame long hive is already working on 20 frames and its not even a week into spring...no way to super this so I need to split it soon.

Awesome! Keep an eye on the food supplies. You’ll need to keep 4-5 frames of feed ahead of the expanding colony. We can super the hive, just requires detaching the roof.

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On 7/09/2019 at 2:13 PM, tommy dave said:

cracked the lids in a three hive wellington apiary today for the first time since May. Season must be underway.

All had plenty of stores and nectar coming in.

One was a little light on bees and no brood starting - added a couple of brood frames just in case.

Other two are just starting to boom, only a couple of weeks from needing another box.

 

 

Funny, my weekend check went almost exactly the same way... Hive 1 and 2 were doing really well, quite a good amount of nectar/pollen coming in to both and hive 2 was booming with bees and plenty of brood, hive 3 had only a smattering of bees and brood (plenty of stores though) so i gave it a boost of young brood and nurse bees from the booming hive (hopefully that will even out both hives...

then had a DOH moment, forgot to check if the queen was on the donated brood frames, oh well, if she was then I figure she will kick the other probably old queen out, and the donatee hive would make a new queen, as well as slow down a little, as it seemed pretty big for the first week of spring down here.

 

 And yes quite a close AFB check on the hives as well... hense the bee sting on the end of my nose through my veil!

I was a bit concerned about the hive 3 but after checking lots of the random single brood cells that were still there, i just got dead almost fully developed bees, probably due to the lack of nurse bee coverage, so that was a big sigh of relief. After last years afb scares all round me I am trying to be extremely vigilant and this hive 3 being so small had me concerned, so Im hoping the brood/bee boost will be enough to get the queen either laying better or replaced. I think she must be failing as it was a mix of normal and drone brood that was there.

 

What I didnt see was any sign of Varroa or DWV, and I even had a fair bit of drone brood to check through as well, so the OA strips seem to be doing their job, and new strips went in.

 

So two weeks time I will check the hive 3 again and see if they are improving or making a new queen.

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15 hours ago, dansar said:

Awesome! Keep an eye on the food supplies. You’ll need to keep 4-5 frames of feed ahead of the expanding colony. We can super the hive, just requires detaching the roof.

I'm having a hard time getting in at the moment, just as I get ready to the weather turns again.

Not too sure about supering, I got the long hive cos my back wont let me do heavy lifting.

 

 

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F677E965-B0E1-4FD5-B293-D5E04780CACD.jpeg

Stoked to see some of NewZealand's finest honeys represented at Apimondia.

One small step for the CoOp.

Good on yer Bruce !

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13 minutes ago, jamesc said:

F677E965-B0E1-4FD5-B293-D5E04780CACD.jpeg

Stoked to see some of NewZealand's finest honeys represented at Apimondia.

One small step for the CoOp.

Good on yer Bruce !

Nice one. 

Maybe just hang on his stand and find a buyer ?! 

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3 hours ago, nikki watts said:

Nice one. 

Maybe just hang on his stand and find a buyer ?! 

A diabetics worst nightmare. 

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On 9/09/2019 at 4:05 PM, mischief said:

I'm having a hard time getting in at the moment, just as I get ready to the weather turns again.

Not too sure about supering, I got the long hive cos my back wont let me do heavy lifting.

 

 

Best thing then is to have a queen excluder to keep the queen down to the first 10 frames and leave the rest for honey, it’ll mean being vigilant and extracting frames (if we get honey this summer) and putting frames back in the hive for bees to fill again.

by all means do the split to the new hive. That won’t slow the parent hive down much.

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17 hours ago, dansar said:

Best thing then is to have a queen excluder to keep the queen down to the first 10 frames and leave the rest for honey, it’ll mean being vigilant and extracting frames (if we get honey this summer) and putting frames back in the hive for bees to fill again.

by all means do the split to the new hive. That won’t slow the parent hive down much.

 

On 9/09/2019 at 4:05 PM, mischief said:

I'm having a hard time getting in at the moment, just as I get ready to the weather turns again.

Not too sure about supering, I got the long hive cos my back wont let me do heavy lifting.

 

 

Regarding Long Hives. I'd be interested to know if QE are really any use in a long hive, I think it is doubtful. Generally in a horizontal format hive the queen will not set up a second brood nest, so as soon as you have one comb of honey across the hive, this should effectively act like a QE in a horizontal hive. Generally we don't limit the brood nest to 10, I would say 14 or 15 is more like the average and we don't ever seek to limit it. More the opposite to check they have room to expand in spring. But we operate with jumbo depth and all those brood combs will generally have 60mm of honey across the top of them plus a pollen band. So actual brood volume might be close to ~10 FD equivalent of a vertical hive. As an aside, I think FD is a bit shallow for a long hive, but obviously we are each biased to what we know and FD long hive proponents seem to get it to work fine. Plus if you had jumbo long hive you'd then struggle to buy a standard extractor that could hold your frames.

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11 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

But we operate with jumbo depth

 

11 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

Plus if you had jumbo long hive you'd then struggle to buy a standard extractor that could hold your frames.

 

So how do you extract ?

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Beautiful day in CHCH, if a bit cold out of the sun. 

 

Just did a talk at my kids school during ‘enrichment’ where the kids are studying bees and pollination. Got to take them up to the hives in small groups and show them around, light a smoker and chew on some sticky wax. They seemed to really enjoy it. 

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4 hours ago, yesbut said:

 

 

So how do you extract ?

Up to now we have used crush and strain for the modest amount of honey we consume at home. Works fine

I don't sell any honey and I don't have NP1 etc.

But I've drawn up a special Jumbo extractor in solid works for my top bar hives and this retrofits into the s/s drum of a four frame spinner the club owns. This device is meant to be currently in build, but well actually I need to cajole them along a bit I think. Deadline is next Feb.

 

There are some expensive machines on the market, but cost of those and importing from Europe is uneconomic for home use.

Hypothetically, if a hobbyist with a  couple of long hives was to have a cheap chinese four frame spinner, I think it would be relatively cheap to convert it into a Jumbo two frame spinner. But we are in top bar hives and we harvest a lot of wax.

And though I don't sell honey we do sell wax.

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Went out and about today after dropping my truck off to get some new mud tyres. Had to take the deluxe out today as we’ve had a spot of rain over the last week or so.

 

Bees seemed to be pretty happy to have have a warm sunny day. Bringing in lotsa lovely yellow pollen. Ironic really because we’d gone to put pollen patties in for the first time ever! Meh! Bees were having a wee look but didn’t look super impressed that I’d gone out of my way to provide them with the silly putty. 

 

Had a lovely picnic headed for home. Half way back a dozy bee decided to sting me while I was just sitting in the passenger seat. First full sting of the season. Silly bee.

 

No. 2 Daughter called from Wellington, as we related our day, she wanted to know what the patties smelt and tasted like. Strange child!

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So today I found this:

 

 

 

I last went through the hive 2 1/2 weeks ago! Can’t believe queens were mating in August in CHCH. The condition of the hive was excellent, so let’s hope it stays that way. 

6ECF29E2-2F4E-41AF-8676-2FDFDC95B8A0.jpeg

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10 hours ago, Kiwi Bee said:

@CHCHPaulyou marked them before their mating flight?

 

I marked one in Autumn as a new queen. She over wintered as a five frame nuc. When I transferred them to a full box three weeks ago I marked the queen thinking that I had missed her in autumn. Yesterday I discovered them together. Buddies!

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4 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

I marked one in Autumn as a new queen. She over wintered as a five frame nuc. When I transferred them to a full box three weeks ago I marked the queen thinking that I had missed her in autumn. Yesterday I discovered them together. Buddies!

The second queen may have Already been in there. it’s not that uncommon for two queens to go through winter. 

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One queen looks older than the other, and the wings aren't in great shape and as the season progresses this queen will gradually be disposed of.  Maybe one is an autumn queen, with an older queen. 

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7 hours ago, nikki watts said:

The second queen may have Already been in there. it’s not that uncommon for two queens to go through winter. 

 

2 hours ago, Maggie James said:

One queen looks older than the other, and the wings aren't in great shape and as the season progresses this queen will gradually be disposed of.  Maybe one is an autumn queen, with an older queen. 

 

This was a brand new split with cell in autumn, so fairly doubtful there was an old Q running around 😬

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Especially in autumn two queens are surprisingly common and even three is not unheard of so it's pretty easy to find a queen and make a split and still have a queen in both hives. Especially if she was the old Queen it's quite likely the cell would be accepted  and you end up with two queens again. One Queen looks young and bright and the other looks old and dark and way darker than I would expect an autumn Queen to be. My best guess would be that one hive in 20 has two queens in autumn.

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