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AeroviewBrewery

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About AeroviewBrewery

  • Rank
    Pupa

Converted

  • Beekeeping Experience
    Hobby Beekeeper

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  • Location
    Auckland
  1. 30/09/2017 - super up

    Checked both hives. The split hive was fed syrup for the past week to encourage comb-drawing, which has worked very well - the checkerboarded top box has a good amount of uncapped syrup on freshly drawn comb and the queen is busily laying in the middle - no queen cups / cells. Sugar shake tested for varroa from brood frames, no mites fell on the plate. Removed varroa strips and the top feeder, added a honey super above QE. Happier about the stores situation now than I was last week - the bees have put a good amount of syrup / nectar away and there's plenty of pollen around the brood nest, both coming in and stored away. The other hive was doing well, however saw 2 queen cups with eggs. Not properly drawn, just a play cup shapes...but with an egg in each. Moved emptier frames from the bottom box to the top FD in the middle where the queen is laying to give her space, removed one old frame with mostly drone brood and replaced with an empty frame. Removed varroa strips and added a honey super above QE. I need to keep an eye on this one in the next week to see if I need to take further measures to prevent swarming. Didn't do sugar shake but tore open and inspected a bunch of capped brood from the frame I removed. No varroa seen - either it's a good result and the strips have knocked them back or I'm not very good at spotting the mites...but I've seen them before easily enough so I'm reasonably confident that the treatment was effective. A pretty disruptive day at the hives - tried to be careful but wasn't 100% sure of where the queens were for some of the time. I hope I didn't roll one by accident.
  2. 23/09/2017 - decision to split

    Hives Went through the hive with the old (failing) queen and the new prolific one. The queens are separated with a QE so I know what's happening with each one. Hive is doing really well in terms of numbers of bees & brood. In the failing queen FD, the bees had made a supersedure cell from one of the playcups - it had been capped during the week. No swarm cells anywhere - just the one supersedure. My guess is that the nurse bees in that part of the hive couldn't smell the better queen up the top and decided to requeen. It would be a shame to let a perfectly good looking queen cell go to waste, so I split the old failing queen into a new single FD, together with a few frames of brood & bees including the supersedure cell and some stores. I hope the new virgin queen will get mated and replace the old failing one. Plenty of drones in my hive, so I assume others in the area have them too. This also gave the strong queen more laying space, which she was starting to run low on at the top. I moved her brood nest to the bottom, lifted some frames up and checkerboarded a second FD with stores and foundation frames. The split has obviously weakened the hive a bit just before honey flow and there weren't a lot of stores: I'm feeding 1:1 syrup to both the split and the hive to make sure the bees don't starve and that they have the feed they need to draw out the foundation frames. Hopefully they draw these frames reasonably quickly so I can add supers soon. The other hive is doing very well with good bee numbers (although not as high as with the 2-queen hive) and heaps of fresh stores, no signs of swarm cells. Varroa strips are coming out next week and then it'll be super time. Gear & maintenance I got a couple of extra FD boxes just in case they are needed and slapped some primer sealer on. I'll paint them later in the week and swap them with the current boxes so they can come out for a bit of maintenance. Last season I was in a rush and got some of those thermowood boxes that supposedly don't need paint...but they are already showing signs of cracking, so I'm not that impressed with those. I'll give them a scrape and a lick of paint and hopefully they'll last a bit better. It would be ideal to have a paraffin dipper of course but that would be overkill for my tiny operation - might find out if ABC has one I could use. The hive lid designs seem to both be compromises one way or the other. I started with the closed ends lids but they aren't very easy to get on and off after a season of weather so I bought a sprung end lid and have preferred that in terms of ease of use. I got sprung end lids for the father-in-law but now after the winter he is saying they were letting in water on the hive mat. Who knows, didn't happen to me. I need to start thinking about which kind of honey extractor to buy. It would be nice to just uncap the frames and spin rather than making the bees redraw all those supers every year. It's not a small investment though, even as a shared purchase. A spoon is pretty cheap in comparison.
  3. 16/09/2017 - spring build up

    Didn't you say you would have left the 2-queened hive alone, though?
  4. 16/09/2017 - spring build up

    Both hives checked. The 2-queened hive is really pumping - having one queen in each FD and placing a QE in between was a great tip, as now I can better see what's going on. The new queen is laying up a storm - the old one is still laying but not as well. The hive is full of bees and the bees are 'holding hands' big time - they are even hanging below the hivedoctor base. Despite this, there is still space to lay and to store honey. Hopefully checkerboarding emptier frames to the middle will help so that the bees don't do anything silly before the varroa strips are coming out in 2 weeks' time. There isn't a lot of stores in this hive but there's still pollen, capped and uncapped honey in there and the new grubs look nice and wet so it looks like the build up is being fed from the incoming nectar/pollen. I still have the granulated sugar at the top, which has been taken in but not very fast. If I don't have to feed syrup I'd rather not, as there isn't a lot of room for more build up really - just need to make sure the bees don't starve if we get poor weather. Ideally this hive would just stay this strong but not run out of control for another 2 weeks, at which point a super is going on the top. Also forked out a few drone pupae to check for varroa & matchstick-poked a few capped brood cells. No varroa found and no ropey goo, so that's good. I saw a few bees with a relatively black-looking (hairless) thorax - they seemed to be acting normally so maybe they are just old and worn out rather having chronic bee paralysis virus...but who knows. The other hive is doing well at a more measured pace - I guess they only have one queen so it only makes sense. I'm happy with their progress also, though - a good amount of stores, uncapped & capped honey and brood. The top box was getting really full so moved some empties from the bottom FD up to give a bit more space. Again, I mainly want to keep things under control until super time, at which point frame-drawing should keep the girls too busy to even consider swarming (I hope). Carefully hopeful about how things are going - I certainly have a lot more bees than I did this time last year.
  5. 07/09/2017 - 2 queens in a hive

    I think I like this plan better than what I did. The FD's are just sitting next to each other so I'll probably just lift one over the other with the QE in place and be done with it.
  6. 07/09/2017 - 2 queens in a hive

    The bees' continued attempts to make the beekeeper understand their behaviour still have no effect - the beekeeper still doesn't understand what on earth the bees are doing. To recap: 03/06/2017 - capped queen cell - decided to keep it in the hive and see what happens 13/08/2017 - unmarked queen found with plenty of brood; figured a successful mid-winter supersedure had taken place 31/08/2017 - spotted a marked queen in the same hive. Hive is super busy and flowing over with bees and brood. Uh oh. Ran out of time but made plan to go back into hive asap to figure out what's up. 07/09/2017 (today): Went through the hive again. Found both marked and unmarked queens, both appear visually normal (to my relatively inexperienced eye) with long abdomen etc. So - somehow the queens have not battled and judging from the amount of brood and bees in the hive, which is pretty much twice as busy as the hive next to it, they both may well be laying. Confusion ensues. Well, I had to do something so I evenly split the brood and the stores and made sure I had one queen in each side of the split. I figured this way I'd find out whether one or the other queen has simply stopped laying and is just hanging out. I placed feeders with granulated sugar on top of each FD box and thought I might change from granulated to 1:1 sugar syrup tonight. There are a lot of bees flowing over the frames and while there's some uncapped and capped honey in the hives, it's not a lot and the weather is still quite variable - I don't want to accidentally starve the hive(s) during build up. Now - I just placed the other half of the split next to the original location, which I presume can be risky as flying bees will return to the old hive location and possibly rob the split? I only have one apiary (well, the inlaws' apiary is just down the road, within bee flight radius) so I can't easily move the split to a whole new location. If anyone has great ideas as to how else to deal with this situation, I'm all ears. I didn't want to terminate either of the queens as I don't know if one or both of them are laying - it would suck to accidentally kill the only laying one.
  7. 19/08/2017 - a quick peek

    A quick AFB matchstick test for one of the hives - no symptoms but wanting to be sure. Further inspections stopped by rain...followed by hail. Thanks Auckland.
  8. Beekeeping Blogs & Articles

    Maybe I am going nuts but haven't been able to find the above since the forums update - has this subforum been re-established yet or has it been discontinued?
  9. New Varroa Treatment?

    I think Apivar strips lose their effectiveness if left in sunlight, so it might not work well for long.
  10. 20170808_124347

    That looks very scientific!
  11. August 2017 Apiary Diary

    I take it you are a long-term beekeeper but only have a couple of hives by the sounds of it - what do you do with swarm control / splits? Do you sell off the 'excess' growth or just manage to keep the bees from swarming in other ways?
  12. New Varroa Treatment?

    It seems to me to be just a different distribution method of (presumably) the same miticides than your traditional strips - and it is away from the broodnest so the nurse bees won't be stepping on it, which I'd imagine is not a benefit at all. Happy to be convinced otherwise but unsure what the benefit is over strips - same risks around resistance etc.
  13. queen marking

    I'm afraid the marked drones met their demise after the procedure for that exact reason...they were sacrificed for the greater good.
  14. Mead Competition

    How long do you mature the mead for? I haven't tried making it yet - a friend of mine did; on tasting, the flavour was characterised by my brewing buddy as 'gasoline with hints of dry honey'. Most of it ended up being used at a stag party day to get the stag drunk, nobody would consume it willingly...
  15. queen marking

    I did the same and watched the above video, then practiced with a dozen drones before marking the real deal and it worked really well. I used a marking pen like in Trev's video - pay attention to the part about getting the pen ready (around the 3-minute mark in the video) so you have a suitable amount of paint ready at the tip of the pen. A lot of people seem to be comfortable with picking queens up by their fingers so that must be fine also - but I found the above method pretty fool proof for a beginner so I have to promote it.
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