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The Frasers

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  • Beekeeping Experience
    Beginner Beekeeper

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    Lower Hutt

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  1. Thank you all, lots of useful information there to store away. The "queen had gone" theory centered around the factors of the excluder under the hive as a way to prevent the bees leaving again still allowing a skinny queen out? and that after they attacked me for the grubbing there wasn't a queen in the hive anywhere. Three passes of frame examination in a three quarter box makes us pretty sure, and the bees were noisy and bumping us throughout. -What there was left of them from the original swarm numbers that is. Then the next weekend they were queened and had fresh brood and their numbers we
  2. Alastair, in reply to your math questions, the swarm was seen to have a small-ish red-ish active queen when boxed from the Ivy hedge it settled on and she was last seen heading up the side of the box toward freedom before the boxes were lidding. (A three-quarter box of assorted frames was given them with an empty FD on top as a "funnel". A hive mat being used as a lid was slid almost closed and the few stragglers outside crawled in. That done they were sealed up for a short road trip to their new home in the early evening. The excluder went onto a Hive Doctor base and the boxes on top with a p
  3. Thanks for that, Mummzie. The queen cells were textbook cups all nice and smooth inside and with an even rim. Not looking chewed, no raggedy bits. The frames that went into the box with the swarm were drawn comb and foundation but only about one full frame equivalent of stores. Something in the order of four drawn frames in the center, one partly filled stores frame outside that each side, and then two foundation frames outside each side. Which as you point out was a rotten trick because they would naturally chomp through the stores PDQ and not be bringing much home. Lesson learned.
  4. For the second time in our short career as novice keepers, this happened: This time we caught and hived a swarm and verified that it was queened. It was active unless the weather turned ugly and through a patch of that weather a fortnight ago went quiet-ish. I took a grubber down to the apiary to create a new pad in case of further swarming and cut the grass around the swarm and the other hive on site. As soon as I began the earthworks though bees emerged from the swarm hive en mass and went for me. I retreated and picked out the stings. then went carefully back. The swarm wasn't having a bar
  5. We have two mature fruiting Karakas about 20m as the bee flies from our house, and the one hive in the yard beside the house has for the last three years dipped drastically in population in Spring. This year there are no dead bees outside, a fair few inside on the base board, slight dampness and mould growing on the shade side inside the boxes, and four frames of stores this year going into September. No DWV, Varroa checks finding only the occasional mite. Apivar strips in at the end of August. We're guessing maybe 1000-1200 bees currently resident but the population is climbing now with bees
  6. Maggie, as a kid I would run around in bare feet and collect bits of glass, sharp stone fragments, and 'prickles' regularly. Mum had a tin of patent remedy but when we were out, she mixed grated Sunlight Soap with a warm slurry of Cremoata and bandaged that on overnight to draw the object out. Gotta wonder where the idea originated for the soap ingredient for dressings. Back then we bought a cake tin of bulk honey once a year from Arataki and it was strictly rationed to us kids. I think that if I'd had honey applied to my foot back then, I'd have gone off quietly and licked it off! Same now,
  7. Thank you for that. Much appreciated. With our so-called trial, we found that the mix firmed up the strips slightly, and they needed to be stacked flat on their sides in a container under a strip of coreflute and light pressure once drained to stop them curling longwise. No pressure to experiment with this, you have all winter :-) No, two strips across the top of the frames of 3/4 brood boxes above the cluster.
  8. So out of all this, might someone with more experience than us two have a go at oxalic delivered with some of that tape and report back valid findings to the Forum so that if it is an improvement and of benefit, us beeks are better off? Or if not, at least we'll know.
  9. Sorry. Yes, that was the post. The consensus was that it was a probable mite associated "dis-ease" and ought to be treated immediately with a patent remedy. We removed the tape and installed Bayvarol at 4 strips per box and removed them last weekend. Whatever the source of the odd behavior was, both our hives are a bit low on stores but otherwise fine. No increase in mite fall was seen with the Bayvarol but then, no more odd behavior either.
  10. It's called Cosio Tree Tie Webbing W: 50mm, L: 5m Beige in Mitre10 (not to advertise) catalogue, but we got ours from a Masterton nursery. We cut strips 250mm long and saturated them in a plastic box with a 2:2:1 mix of Oxalic Crrystals, Glycerine, Water by weight. When saturated they were rollered to remove liquid and reduce their weight to 10g more than an untreated strip weighed. Not very scientific admittedly. Two of these were sat across the top of the frames in the bottom brood boxes of two hives. The bees and brood did not appear to be affected by the strips' and they got spa
  11. We found a horticultural tree-tie tape that we were trying out as a way of exposing the oxalic juice to the bees last year. It is a vegetable fibre weave with a black stripe down the center and 50mm wide, sold in a roll. It stayed moist and wasn't chewed as towels were.
  12. When we bought our first hive-ware from a retiring keeper four years ago, and then attracted a swarm to put in a box from the collection, two of these pictured bases came with it. With experience has come curiosity, and we dug the bases out and cleaned up the best one. It appears to be a pollen trapping device with mesh ventilation openings and a variable entry set-up to permit free entry or entry through the pollen stripper and a minimal size entry option via the plastic tubes in the corners. The pollen falls into the slide-out tray shown, well, slid out. Can members recall these bases?
  13. Agreed, Yesbut. Yes, but, leaving them in a shaded area with a single brood box with a few frames of patchy stores in a super above, and with a feeder above that was a fatal flaw. Too much "room" to keep warm in. Chilled brood, damp boxes, cold winter.. So many things could have been done better, like the site, frame feeder, just the one box. If there had been another hive back then they ought to have been merged with it. As it was we caught a swarm that spring and the few hundred remaining in the first hive were merged and died with friends in the warm.
  14. @cBank, thank you for that. Totally agree on point 4, and a lot of the advice to others on the Forum has produced light-bulb moments for us facing similar situations. We here are a team. Me the "poke it and see if it squeaks", hands on part of the pair, and she the "They're your bees but I would..." part. And with just so much to know and so little time, mistakes are made. Often. Killing a hive with too few bees and too much room for them to keep warm that first winter. Starving a hive to close to extinction with a top feeder beyond the reach of the cluster the second spring. Veering off the
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